A SUNDERLAND entrepreneur who started out as an apprentice is in the running for an award for his achievements.
Gavin Richardson is one of six nominees to be short-listed for an Alumni Achievement Award by the Open University’s business school, and the winner will be revealed next week.
Mr Richardson gained his Professional Management Certificate with the Open University in 2006 before completing an MBA in business administration at the University of Newcastle in 2011.
His nomination for the achievement award cites his “entrepreneurial spirit”, having started his career as an electrical apprentice, which led to him being named National Apprentice of the Year in 1997.
He climbed the career ladder at three engineering companies before founding OPUS Building Services, in June 2006.
The Boldon-based company provides mechanical and electrical engineering services and employs 65 people.
“I honestly don’t know who has put my name forward, but I’m obviously delighted,” Gavin said. “Part of the privilege of being MD at OPUS is being able to help work colleagues develop and grow. We offer staff the opportunity to study whenever we can, and encourage them to do so.
“So far, we’ve seen the development of 16 apprentices and an adult trainee, one of whom won Regional Apprentice of the Year in 2010.”
In 2010, Gavin founded another new company, Opus Green, with business partner Chris Cassells and has undertaken two non-executive roles, for the Chartered Manager Institute (CMI), along with specialist insurance companies ECIH, ECIC and ECIS.