J S Wright has won a top national award for championing equality, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace.

The company, which has offices in Birmingham and London, beat off competition from scores of other nominations to be named Construction Services Employer of the Year at the finals of the 2020 BAME Apprenticeship Awards.

The awards ceremony, presented on YouTube and Facebook after the Covid pandemic forced the cancellation of an in-person event, celebrated the outstanding work and achievement of black, Asian and minority ethnic apprentices and the support they received from employers and learning providers.

J S Wright was also celebrated as a finalist in the Small Medium Employer of the Year category at the Awards, while one of its Plumbing and Heating apprentices, Shaun Donaldson, was shortlisted for the Construction Services Apprentice of the Year Award.

The awards were hosted by TV and radio presenter Remel London , and actor and comedian Tez Ilyas. The winner of the Construction Services Employer of the Year Award was announced by Surju Kanani of Kaplan Financial.

Addressing hundreds of viewers live on screen, Remel London said that J S Wright “prides itself on the training of its staff, giving them the opportunity to develop their entire career with the help of their innovative development programmes and the support of senior staff, many of whom have been with the organisation since they were apprentices themselves”.

Paul Millington, J S Wright Associate Director and Leader of the J S Wright Academy, said: “This is a brilliant achievement and a tribute to the success of our Academy and training programmes and the high quality of our apprentices.

“Special congratulations go to Shaun Donaldson, an outstanding apprentice who fully represents our core values of quality, responsibility, collaboration and integrity. This has enabled him to become an inspirational role model.”

Phil Leech, Managing Director of J S Wright, commented: “As a company, we have always been fully committed to nurturing an inclusive and diverse workforce in which everyone is valued and given the opportunity to progress.”

The judging panel for the event run by Pearson was led by Olga Bottomley, CEO of Straight4ward Solutions, and included Errol Ince, Vice Principal for STEM at London South East Colleges, former National Union of Students President Shakira Martin, and NOCN Managing Director Graham Hasting-Evans.

Olga Bottomley said the year had been “fantastic” and the quality of the apprentices has been “phenomenal”. “It has been a pleasure to be a part of such an amazing cause that really highlights diversity in apprenticeships,” she added.

Actively supporting a diverse and inclusive workforce, J S Wright’s mechanical and electrical apprentices are all members of its industry leading Academy, which helps develop their leadership and communication skills. The company’s technical trainees also follow an Experience programme which involves being mentored in its values, processes and procedures by senior colleagues and gaining the all-round knowledge needed to become its leaders of tomorrow.

J S Wright’s apprentices also benefit from work-based college courses through industry training provider JTL, which was shortlisted for the Training Provider of the Year title at the Awards. The company supported finalist Shaun Donaldson, who is about to embark on his final Level 3 NVQ Plumbing course with the provider while also working on a multi-million pound project to fit out hundreds of new apartments at The Timber Yard development in Birmingham.