Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has spoken of her delight as four of the nine finalists at this year’s Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council Apprenticeship Awards are from South Lanarkshire College in East Kilbride.

Linda said “I am so pleased for South Lanarkshire College and their talented apprentices.  I know from my visits to the College how the commitment and dedication of both staff and students has contributed to their success at these awards.

The Awards were the brainchild of James Birnie MBE, who worked in the industry for a good number of years, is a Past President of the Scottish Building Federation, and was honoured with the MBE in 1999 in recognition of his services to working conditions for the industry as a whole. Run by the Scottish Building Apprentice and Training Council (SBATC), the Awards assess candidates according to their practical and theoretical craft abilities alongside other important skills such as organisation, communication and the ability to perform as a team player.

This year’s James Birnie Apprentice of the Year, twenty-one-year-old Kenny McAllister, is currently undertaking a four-year apprenticeship in plastering with Brian MacPlastering in East Kilbride and attends South Lanarkshire College.

Kenny was awarded the title in recognition of his outstanding natural ability for the plastering trade, particularly in specialist areas such as plaster mould repair work.

Earlier this year, Kenny won the gold medal at the UK final of Skillbuild in Leeds, the third year in a row that he has represented his college in the competition. His successes have also earned him invitations to attend World Skills and the annual gathering of the Worshipful Company of Plasterers.

Commenting on the 2011 Awards, Michael Levack, Scottish Building Federation Chief Executive and Employers’ Secretary for the Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council (SBATC), said “My congratulations to the winners and to all of the shortlisted candidates for this year’s James Birnie Craft Apprentice of the Year Awards. With unemployment rising – particularly amongst young people – it is more important than ever that we pay tribute to the outstanding contribution apprentices the length and breadth of Scotland continue to make to the construction industry. As our industry works its way back to recovery, their hard work and dedication give us real hope for the future.”

Linda was on hand to personally congratulate her constituent Kenny McAllister on winning the 2011 Apprentice of the Year Award.

She said “I’m truly delighted for Kenny.  He is a real credit to Brian MacPlastering, to his trade, and to East Kilbride. His achievements are particularly impressive when you consider he is only twenty-one years of age. I wish him the very best of luck with successfully completing his apprenticeship. I am confident his future career in plastering will go from strength to strength.”

Notes to Editors


1. About SBATC

Founded in 1934, the main purpose of the SBATC is to regulate the working conditions, wages, recruitment and training of apprenticeships within the building industry throughout Scotland. The Council is composed of equal numbers of employers and operative’s representatives.

2. James Birnie MBE

This is now the 12th year of the James Birnie Craft Apprentice of the Year Awards scheme, which was the concept of James Birnie MBE. Jim worked in the industry for a good number of years and is a Past President of Scottish Building. He was honoured with the MBE in 1999 in recognition of his services to working conditions for the industry as a whole.

3. Founded in 1895, the Scottish Building Federation (SBF) is the lead voice of the construction industry in Scotland, an industry which is the largest source of private investment north of the border and contributes around £10 billion (c.10%) to Scotland’s GDP. The overall aim of the organisation is to ensure that the important contribution of the Scottish construction industry to Scotland’s economy and society is recognised and valued, which it does through working with industry, government and the media, and that industry standards are raised.

4. The SBF promotes the interests of the construction industry to a diverse range of stakeholders and is the leading employers’ federation for the industry, representing over 700 companies from Orkney to the Borders.

5. The SBF provides an exclusive range of invaluable support services to a wide range of member companies, whether these are small single trade firms or major regional and national contractors. The shared objective that all members have in common is their commitment to health and safety, skills and integrity, ensuring the delivery of the highest standards of performance, professionalism and quality within the industry in Scotland.


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