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Young builders helped by Norwich charity shortlisted for top industry prize

PUBLISHED: 06:30 15 September 2014

James Watson and Sam Alexander who are both in the final for Young Builder of the Year Award 2014.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

James Watson and Sam Alexander who are both in the final for Young Builder of the Year Award 2014. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Archant Norfolk.

Three young people trained in construction by a Norwich charity have made it to the final of the Young Builder of the Year Award.

James Watson and Sam Alexander who are both in the final for Young Builder of the Year Award 2014.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.James Watson and Sam Alexander who are both in the final for Young Builder of the Year Award 2014. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

James Watson, 22, Sam Alexander, 16, and Orlando Horner, 16, were trained by St Eds on Oak Street which helps young people who have had to leave mainstream schooling get qualifications.

Mike Goode, Skills Centre Manager at St Eds, put the trainees up for the award without a second thought.

He said: “When I first started to think about who to nominate for this prestigious award, these three young learners sprung to mind.

“Their motivation, willingness to listen and try new skills made them stand out of the crowd.

James Watson, who is in the final for Young Builder of the Year Award 2014.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.James Watson, who is in the final for Young Builder of the Year Award 2014. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

“It is a great privilege for the centre, the staff and me and a testimony to their hard work that they have been shortlisted and will spend a lovely day in London at the Houses of Parliament as their reward.”

James, who is from Catton Grove, has now been taken on by St Eds for work experience.

He said: “I’m really proud to be in the final. School was not a pleasant experience for me as I was bullied due to my learning difficulties.

“The staff at St Eds were really understanding and allowed me to learn at my own pace.

“I’m pleased that they have offered me full-time work experience after finishing my course and I hope this will lead me to a job in the construction trade.”

Sam Alexander, who also lives in Catton Grove, had to leave school five years ago, but now has high hopes for the future.

He said: “I was really shocked to get to the final and my family are really pleased for me.

“I had to leave mainstream school after being diagnosed with depression aged 11, which was really tough, but the staff at St Eds have given me the skills and confidence to get a full-time job and lead a normal life.”

The winners will be revealed at an awards ceremony at the Houses of Parliament in London.

For more information, visit st-eds.nakedelement.co.uk.

Do you know a young person who has overcome adversity? Email polly.grice@archant.co.uk

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