Two outstanding merchant apprentices have been honoured with BMF Apprentice of the Year Awards, which acknowledge exceptional candidates enrolled on the BMF Apprenticeship (NVQ Level 2) and Advanced Apprenticeship (NVQ Level 3) schemes.

Nathan Medlam, 19, who works as a yardman for Milford in Leeds, was named Apprentice of the Year for NVQ Level 2 – sponsored by Aggregate Industries. James Matlock, now group sales and service trainer at Ridgeons in Cambridge, scooped the Apprentice of the Year Award for NVQ Level 3 candidates, sponsored by the Institute of Builders Merchants.

As well as the prestigious title and a trophy, both received a personal cheque for £250 together with a £1,000 scholarship fund to continue their vocational training with the BMF.

Mr Medlam and Mr Matlock were nominated for the awards by their Didac/BMF regional assessors for their attitude, commitment and achievements. By their own admission, neither had been a ‘high achiever’ at school, but both flourished under the vocational training provided by their apprenticeships, earning the praise of their employers for the enthusiasm with which they embraced their studies and their positive contribution in the workplace.

BMF managing director John Newcomb said: “The adaptability of the Apprentice system gives everyone an equal opportunity – including those who have not flourished in their formal education. The BMF is committed to ensuring that talented and committed apprentices are given the recognition they rightly deserve. Nathan and James have shown their determination to succeed in the merchanting industry and we wish them every success in their future careers.”