Aspiring carpenters Matthew Rutherford from Bangor, County Down, Alice Nerger-Jones from Devizes and Lewis George from Neath, have secured their places in the final of the coveted Screwfix Trade Apprentice award.

From over 1,800 initial applications, just ten apprentices have made the grade and are heading to the two-day event in London next month.

As well as competing for this prestigious award, which aims to highlight the hard work and dedication of trade apprentices across the UK and Ireland, the trio are studying towards future qualifications.

Matthew, 19, is focused on becoming a professional carpenter. Currently studying Carpentry and Joinery at South Eastern Regional College in Newtownards.

He was shortlisted for demonstrating his passion, dedication and ambition for his chosen trade, which shone through during the semi-finals. “I can’t believe I have made it to this stage of Screwfix Trade Apprentice 2024!" he says. "I’m so glad that my skills, dedication, and achievements have secured me a place in the national final."

Alice, 24, is currently studying Joinery at Wiltshire College in Chippenham and is the only female apprentice studying joinery at her college, as well as the first female employee at Forest To Home where she works. She found her passion for joinery during the Covid-19 pandemic when she completed a van conversion which helped her develop her skills.

“To be crowned the winner would be a huge personal achievement and a highlight of my career," she says. "I would absolutely love to be an ambassador for young people, particularly women, who are considering a career in the trade.”

Lewis, 25, who is currently studying Level 3 Site Carpentry at Llansamlet College, works with sustainability in mind and plans to use his platform to promote more environmentally friendly practices in carpentry, such as sourcing materials from sustainable suppliers and reusing or recycling excess or waste materials.

“If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life - and that’s truly how I feel about being a carpenter," he says. "I’m very proud to be representing the hard work and dedication of all trade apprentices and I’m looking forward to showcasing my passion in front of the judges. To be crowned the winner would be a huge personal achievement and a highlight of my career.”

All three hope to impress a judging panel of industry experts for a chance to be named the winner at the event on 3rd May. 

The Screwfix Trade Apprentice 2024 champion will receive a career-boosting trade bundle of tools, tech and training worth £10,000. This, alongside the coveted Screwfix Trade Apprentice title, is everything an apprentice needs to excel within their chosen career.

This year’s judging panel includes representatives from the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering, the Federation of Master Builders, the National Inspection Council of Electrical Installation Contracting along with Screwfix Top Tradesperson 2023 winner, Astrid Arnold.