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Helen skelton former blue peter presenter james kendall winner adrian belton citbs chief executive cropped for website

Deaf bricklayer James cements his future at construction industry awards

19th October 2015

21 year old apprentice bricklayer James Kendall from London picked up a national award for achievement through adversity. James is deaf but hasn?t let that stop him achieving what he wants. He found himself an apprenticeship in bricklaying with Scorpio Building Contractors whilst studying for his qualification at Barking & Dagenham College.


He communicates through sign language and was able to learn with the College’s support; this included them supporting James by providing a British sign language (BSL) interpreter and also the teachers using technology to teach James.

"A credit"

For example, tutor Grahame MacDonald explains

“I communicated with him by using the memo pad on my iPad in order to give him instructions as he was being assessed for his qualification.”

“James is a credit to himself and the College.”

In recognition of his special achievement, James was nominated for a CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) Apprenticeship Award for Achievement through Adversity.

The annual CITB Managing Agency Apprenticeship Awards celebrate the achievement of apprentices and the employers who support them. The 2015 ceremony took place at Plaisterers Hall in London, with successful nominees from across the three nations invited after an intense selection process. Apprentices were recognised for overcoming adversity and exceeding expectations, to shine as stars for the future of our industry. Construction companies who employ, support and promote Apprenticeships were also acknowledged for the vital work they do to develop talent.

Blue Peter's Helen Skelton

James, who attended the event with his signer from the College Margret Bevington and Nkechi Udonwa, Apprenticeships Officer at CITB, was delighted to find out on the night that he was the chosen winner. He went up on stage to receive his award from former Blue Peter presenter and adventurer Helen Skelton and CITB’s Chief Executive Adrian Belton.

Nkechi said:

"We all enjoyed the event. Margret and I were glad to be with him at the awards and share the special event with him.”

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