A 20-YEAR-OLD apprentice from Stroud has claimed the top prize at a prestigious manufacturing awards.

Ben Townsend, who works as an apprentice patternmaker for Advanced Insulation, won the Intermediate & Advanced First Year Apprentice Award at this year’s EEF Future Manufacturing Awards in London.

He beat a host of talented individuals from companies such as Dyson, BAE Systems and Airbus.

The award recognises the outstanding contribution being made by manufacturing apprentices across the country.

Winners are selected for regional and then national awards by a panel of judges drawn from business leaders, industry experts and academics.

Judges crowned Ben the winner after he impressed them with his passion for engineering and role as an ambassador for apprenticeships.

Ben was over the moon following his victory.

“This is a massive honour and a privilege to have this award not just for myself and my company, but for all apprentices on their career path,” said Ben “It’s been a fantastic experience in the first year of my apprenticeship and I’ve developed so much and winning this tops it all off.”

Andrew Bennion, managing director at Advanced Insulation, commented: “Ben’s dedication to his craft has set him apart from apprentices in some of the UK’s most prestigious manufacturing companies.

“Ben has worked on projects worth hundreds of thousands of pounds and is learning each day from Tony Nash, senior patternmaker and the patternshop team, here at Advanced Insulation.

“The transfer of these types of skills is crucial if the UK is to breach the often-cited skills gap in the industry.”