Talented Couch Perry Wilkes apprentice scoops top university award

An apprentice at environmental services consultancy Couch Perry & Wilkes (CPW) has won a top award from London South Bank University for high attainment.

Chris Leavens, from the regional office in Cambridge, has worked as an apprentice mechanical engineer since 2007, and was sponsored through BSc Building Services Engineering for 4 years at the LSBU.  Chris is in his final year of the course and out of the all 250 students studying on the BSc course, has received an award for best performance.

In acknowledgment of this achievement, the Faculty of Engineering Science and the Built Environment, which recognises academic excellent and achievements, will present Chris with an award at a special prize giving ceremony at the Keyworth Centre, London South Bank University, on Wednesday, April 6, 2011.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have won this university award,” said Chris. “The apprenticeship scheme at CPW has been absolutely fantastic and gave me a real opportunity to succeed.

Everyone at CPW has been really supportive and I’ve been very lucky to have some of the best sustainability and environmental technology brains in the business to talk to about my academic work.  I am already putting into practice much of what I learned on the degree course at CPW.”

Steve Lakin, Director at the award-winning company, said Chris’ success reaffirmed its commitment to nurturing new up and coming talent through its already-established apprenticeship scheme.

CPW, which has five offices across England and employs more than 163 people, has maintained its apprenticeship scheme over the past 5/years even through the economic downturn. The company, which is one of the largest environmental building services consultancy in the UK, has put 23 trainee engineers and senior engineers through a series of qualifications and has invested heavily to be able to provide accredited LCC (low carbon consultants) energy assessors, BREEAM assessors and PassivHaus designers.

“It is absolutely vital that we support the engineers of the future,” confirms Steve. “We think we have a responsibility to ensure there are good trainees coming through who can help to shape this country’s engineering future.

“We have been very impressed with the calibre of apprentices here at CPW and will do all we can to encourage professional development of all staff.”

The Government has recently urged more companies to take the lead of firms such as CPW and take on more apprentices. Business Secretary Vince Cable and Skills Minister John Hayes said he wanted employers to create “a new generation of skilled workers” and urged firms to follow the lead of employers who are currently increasing their apprentice intake.

The Government has pledged to work with businesses to deliver 100,000 more apprenticeship places by 2014. A total of 350,000 people will sign up for an apprenticeship in England in 2011, twice as many as five years ago.

“For us, taking on apprentices has been a crucial part of our armoury and we would urge any business to think seriously about supporting trainees,” says Steve. “It has helped us to develop superb engineers and ensures we have fresh talent to drive forward our company.”