Press release

Apprentice and Technician of the Year 2017 awards shortlist revealed

25 October 2017

The Institution of Engineering and Technology has this week announced the shortlists for its annual Apprentice of the Year and Armed Forces Technician of the Year awards, which recognise individuals who have made exceptional engineering contributions to their profession or operational area.

The shortlists highlight achievements across a wide spectrum of engineering excellence, ranging from nuclear facility decommissioning, automotive electron beam welding and electron-microscopy production to supporting the UK response to the Nepal earthquakes and improving cyber security for the RAF’s aircraft systems.

The winners of both awards will be announced at the IET Achievement Awards ceremony in London on Wednesday 15th November. They will each receive a prize consisting of a trophy, certificate, £1,000 cash and two years’ free IET membership.

The Apprentice of the Year Award finalists are:

  • Magdalena Dyga, who recently completed a Specialist Science apprenticeship at Rolls Royce Plc, where she was the single point of contact for the facility’s automated welding process. She was also a key member of the team who achieved a 50% time reduction in Electron Beam Welding with annual savings of at least £160,000, a project which went on to win the company’s Lean Award.
  • Andrew Heaton, an electrical engineer at Sellafield Ltd., where his work contributes to the safe and secure decommissioning and clean-up of legacy nuclear facilities. Andrew has also developed innovative solutions to enhance operations within the business and contributed to the design of a new robotic manipulator system that can reduce and remove risk to human operators in high-hazard areas.
  • Wesley Washington, a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering apprentice at Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH. Through his hands-on role in defining standard work instructions for the electron-microscopy build process during the transfer of production from Germany to the UK, Wesley was able to provide support and training for new production staff that contributed to €2.5m annual cost savings for the business.

The Armed Forces Technician Award finalists are:

  • Staff Sergeant John Martindale RE made cost savings of 80% by developing an innovative solution for the construction of a 1.7km long natural surface runway at an RAF airfield in Suffolk. By applying innovative techniques and reverting to basic engineering principles, SSgt Martindale produced a high quality product on time to the required specification and significantly under budget.
  • Corporal Philip Matthews is responsible for building a new system for the MOD that protects aircraft systems against malicious cyber threats. Within two days of delivering his solution, two malware threats were identified and stopped. Recognising the advantages of his solution, HQ Air intend to roll it out to all aircraft platforms in service. 
  • Warrant Officer Class 2 Ram Kumar Rai RE was deployed as technical lead for the Humanitarian & Disaster Relief operation following the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, where he developed an innovative shelter design based on the materials supplied in aid packs. WO2 Rai was also involved in the proof-of-concept for an earthquake resistant home design, which were successfully implemented in the ongoing reconstruction operations.

Professor Jeremy Watson, IET President said:  “All the IET Apprentice and Technician Award finalists demonstrated skills and knowledge through their work that went far beyond their roles. They have taken on challenging tasks and through innovation and determination have brought real benefits to their companies and areas of operation.

“They are being recognised by the IET for their achievements and for being role models to future generations of technicians and engineers by inspiring them to develop their own careers and success stories.”

The Apprentice and Technician Awards are part of the IET’s Achievement Awards and Scholarships programme, which this year provided over £1million in awards, prizes and scholarships to celebrate excellence and research in the sector and encourage the next generation of engineers and technicians.

All IET awards seek to inspire and reward engineering excellence, from apprentices at the start of their careers through to reputable, established professional engineers and technicians.

Find out more about the Achievement Awards.

Notes to editors:

Media enquiries to:

Hannah Kellett

External Communications Manager

T: +44 (0)7738602426

E: hkellett@theiet.org