Apprentice Kirk’s a bright spark

Kirk Newton with his award

Kirk Newton with his award

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BRIGHT spark Kirk Newton is celebrating after being named Apprentice of the Year in the NHS.

Electrician Kirk, from Seaham, has for the past four years been learning his trade with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust.

The Trust is responsible for some community health services in Sunderland.

As well as gaining his full qualification in July, he has also received the fourth year Apprentice of the Year cup at the Northern and Yorkshire NHS Assessment Centre’s regional NHS estates apprentice presentation evening.

For Kirk, the success crowns the realisation of a childhood ambition.

The 20-year-old, who is based in the estates department at South Tyneside District Hospital, said: “I feel really proud to have received this award.

“I don’t know why, but I always wanted to be an electrician and I love the job. One minute I can be dealing with the fire alarms, the next the call systems for patients needing a nurse.”

Kirk, who was given the honour at The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, began his apprenticeship in August 2007 with the Northern and Yorkshire NHS Assessment Centre, which has been running an apprentice training scheme since 1974.

Of the apprentices entering the scheme, more then 96 per cent have completed their training and been taken on by NHS Trusts in the region, with about 25 per cent moving on to senior posts.

Kevin Grabham, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s Head of Estates (operations and maintenance), said: “We’re delighted that Kirk has been given this award.

“He always demonstrated a positive attitude during his apprenticeship and has developed his skills as an electrical craftsman to the point where he is a valuable member of staff who can be relied upon to work on any of the Trust’s engineering health care systems.”