Ryan Davis, a Field Service Engineer based in Derbyshire, topped a list of more than 100 apprentices to scoop the prestigious annual accolade.
The 28-year-old, who initially joined Linde as an apprentice in 2017, said he was thrilled to have won the competition and that his only regret was that he wished he’d known more about apprenticeships as a teenager.
“When I was 16 or 17, it was uncommon, but all of my mates were off learning trades, but I didn’t really know anyone to talk to about it,” said Davis. “I ended up taking work where I could find it but none of felt like I was going anywhere.”
He continues: “I got to the stage in my early 20s where I thought I needed to be earning a decent wage and also needed to learn a proper trade in order to develop a progressive career.”
By then, Davis had some friends who had already been through apprenticeships and were working as engineers. He contacted lots of companies and, eventually, was offered an apprenticeship at Linde Material Handling.
He says: “I gave my college and theory work my all and worked as hard as I could to make the most of the opportunity.”
Over the course of the next three years, Davis impressed everyone at Linde with his willingness to learn. His dedication to improve at every turn while being trained by the Forklift Training Engineering Centre (F-TEC) was evident.
F-TEC is a dedicated training facility offering an extensive range of forklift engineering programmes, including apprenticeships, advanced level courses, thorough examination, diagnostics and safe
F-TEC training was created to address the training needs of the forklift truck industry working with some of the leading manufacturers and over 40 independent companies.
For its Apprentice of the Year competition, F-TEC looked at a range of disciplines including attendance, a practical exam and spot faults. A face-to-face interview with the judges followed.
For winning Apprentice of the Year, Davis received a certificate and a pair of gold cufflinks provided by F-TEC sponsor Rolls-Royce.
He says: “It was great to win this competition especially as I was up against over 100 of the best apprentices there are in our industry.
“I love my role at Linde, I feel like I’m at a company where hard work is rewarded and the sky is the limit career-wise.”
He adds: “My only regret is I wasn’t told more about apprenticeships when I was younger, and I would urge any young people to consider an apprenticeship role to help them get a foot in the door for their first proper job.”