YOUNG apprentices have won top prizes at the UK’s biggest renewable power station’s annual awards.

Cameron Shipstone, from Hemingborough near Selby, won the Drax Group's craft apprentice of the year after being commended for his excellent communication skills and proactive approach to learning.

The 21-year-old received outstanding feedback from colleagues who said he had become a valued member of the plant maintenance team.

Cameron, who is now entering the fourth year of his apprenticeship at the North Yorkshire power station, said: “I’m very grateful to have won this award since I really enjoyed the past year of my apprenticeship at Drax.

"I’m most proud of how I’ve been able to contribute to the safe day-to-day running of the power station as well as helping to complete the Unit 1 outage in line with its target date.

"I’m hoping to further increase my knowledge and skills so I can continue to work on the safe and reliable operation of the power station.”

The awards also included business apprentices, who have faced the challenge of having to do all their learning virtually this year.

Ben Senior, 22, from York, was awarded business apprentice of the year for always maintaining a positive attitude and showing great problem-solving skills.

Ben’s manager said he nominated Ben for the award as he consistently worked to a high standard and went out of his way to help the wider team.

Ben said: “I know how high the standard of the other apprentices across the business is, so this is a real achievement for me. I’m looking forward to my future at Drax and the many career pathways it presents.”

Covid restrictions meant that this year’s awards were held virtually with apprentices from across the Drax Group recognised for their efforts overcoming the unprecedented challenges that Covid-19 brought.

Karen McKeever, Drax chief HR officer, said: “Drax is committed to championing and supporting people in their early careers.

"Hiring and developing a talented workforce of the future is essential for a business like Drax, as we strive to deliver cutting edge climate-saving technologies like bioenergy with carbon capture and storage.

“Apprentices all have unique talents and bring a new perspective, that we can learn from.

"It’s been inspiring to meet them all and celebrate their achievements.

"The last couple of years have been challenging for us all due to Covid, but our apprentices have shown great flexibility, resilience and patience in continuing to approach their learning with enthusiasm and dedication.”

Drax’s apprenticeship scheme is part of its commitment to developing talent and upskilling the workforce. Drax has 52 apprentices as well as 50 existing employees working towards apprenticeship qualifications at other career levels within the business.

The four-year craft apprenticeship scheme enables recruits to gain skills and expertise by working alongside highly-qualified engineers.

It specialises in three engineering disciplines: mechanical, electrical and control & instrumentation.

Drax also offers apprenticeship qualifications in business support areas such as HR, cyber security and administration.