Winner of the 2021 Polymer Apprentice of the Year Award Announced

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) and the Worshipful Company of Horners are pleased to announce that Thomas Coyne of IPL Plastics has won the 2021 Polymer Apprentice of the Year Award.

Tom is currently a Lead Quality Assurance Technician at IPL Plastics who has recently completed an EAL Level 3 Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering course. Tom is responsible for a shift technician and leads a team in single-minute exchange of die (SMED) activities. However, it was Tom’s innovative ideas that resulted in a 38% reduction in tool change times (worth over £250k in additional capacity) that made him the standout candidate. Tom also impressed the judges with his technical ability as a certified machine operator and his designs for new products.

Ian Paterson, Chairman of the Apprentice Award Committee, said: “Tom was the standout candidate in this year’s contest and a well-deserved winner. His initiative, engagement and technical skills were very apparent. I congratulate him on his significant achievement.”

Tom’s manager, IPL’s QESH & CI Manager Michael Christmas, added: “We are extremely proud of our apprentices. They make an outstanding contribution to our business and often go on to progress in IPL Plastics into more senior roles, thanks to the skills and experience they gain. Tom is no exception; his dedication, work ethic and attention to detail, combined with his team working skills, have helped drive a number of quality improvements at IPL Rotherham and we are delighted to see his achievement recognised in the form of Polymer Apprentice of the Year 2021.

Tom will be awarded a £500 cash prize, a ceremonial drinking horn and a formal invitation to Mansion House, where he will receive a Polymer Apprentice of the Year Certificate from the Lord Mayor of London.

All the judges agreed that the standard of entrants for 2021 was exceptional and that special praise should be given to this year’s runner-up, Joshua Vinters from Polypipe Civils and Green Urbanisation. His ability to adapt to varying challenges and his proactive approach to problem-solving was very apparent. The judges commented that he is a “confident character” and that “his technical ability will prove beneficial for his future.” Joshua has just completed his Science Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship at Level 3.

The Polymer Apprentice of the Year Award shines a spotlight on the outstanding commitment and achievements of apprentices within the polymer industry. The BPF, in conjunction with The Worshipful Company of the Horners, will re-open this competition in September as it begins its search for the 2022 winner.

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Congratulations, Tom!

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