Russell Roof Tiles has awarded four bursaries in a bid to promote manufacturing, construction and engineering trades to young people.

The John Gibson Bursary is named after the founder of the company, which was established in 1965. The bursary is aimed at recipients from ages 16 to 24, with the money intended to be used for education or training, to pay for clothing, books and other equipment or transport while training.

Young people local to Russell’s two manufacturing sites in Burton on Trent and Lochmaben had the opportunity to apply for the bursary, worth £1,000 each for any training directly related to manufacturing, construction and engineering.

Russell’s managing director Andrew Hayward said: “There is a huge skills gap in our sector so it is vital that businesses like ours invest in the long term. Despite high youth unemployment, just like other manufacturers we struggle to attract people who want to work hard, but also be trained and be well rewarded for their efforts.”

The first bursaries were awarded to Jack Whysall, Declan Higgs and Callum Coleman. Mr Whysall and Mr Coleman both study electrical installation at Burton and South Derbyshire College, while Mr Higgs is studying plastering at the Chameleon School of Construction. Local to Lochmaben, Murray Robson was successful in his application, and is studying for his bachelor degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.

Mr Robson said: “This is a fantastic opportunity from a local business. This bursary allows me to pursue Masters studies in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and achieve my long-term goal of a career in the manufacturing sector.”