A hard-working apprentice who became a “crucial” part of a construction team working on Islington Council’s new build housing projects has won a prestigious apprenticeship award.

Usama Mohamed was named Supply Chain Apprentice Of The Year at last week’s London Borough Apprenticeship Awards for his outstanding work in the heart of his community.

Usama, 20, had a vast and varied set of responsibilities while working with construction firm Osborne to build new council homes on Islington’s estates.

As trainee site manager for Osborne, Usama helped ensure the project stayed on track, monitoring the quality of the work and the safety of workers on the site.

He also acted as a crucial bridge between the project team and local residents, keeping them up to date on progress and helping alleviate any concerns as they arose.

The council’s iWork team brokered Usama’s apprenticeship opportunity with Osborne. With his enviable people skills, Usama quickly became a role model for young people and several teenagers have since been shortlisted for opportunities by iWork after speaking to him.

After picking up his award at the glittering ceremony run by London Councils, Usama said: “This fulfils my ambition – I have done myself proud. A lot of people thought that apprenticeships were the second option to university. But I spoke to an Islington Council employment officer and he broke everything down for me.

“I was contemplating whether I should do it or not and then a Jubba Youth Community Association worker spoke to me and helped me with my CV, and I trusted him. I went for a couple of interviews and when the employers started explaining how the process worked, I really wanted to do it.

“Thank God that Osborne wanted me because they have a trainee scheme with mentors, and it’s well thought-out. I met the other apprentices and Osborne put you with managers with years of experience, and you get to do project management, health and safety, the whole experience of the industry.”

Usama is currently part-way through a Higher National Certificate in construction management, and plans to study part-time for a related degree after that. He added: “By then I will have five years’ experience in the industry, with a degree, at the age of 24.”

Cllr Asima Shaikh, executive member for inclusive economy and jobs, said: “I’m so pleased that the judges saw just how fantastic a role model Usama is for other young people in Islington.

“He is so highly motivated and his enthusiasm is infectious – he has raised the profile of apprenticeships locally and people are literally signing up after hearing from him about how they are a genuine, rewarding alternative route to university.

“Many congratulations to Usama and everyone who has helped him on his journey!”

Richard Watts, Osborne’s construction director, said: “Many congratulations to Usama for this well-deserved award. Usama has demonstrated dedication and hard work in his learning – both practical and academic. Through Osborne’s structured Apprenticeship Programme Usama will continue to develop into a professional and qualified site manager.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with iWork on Islington Council’s New Build Housing Framework, as we invest in developing future generations for both the construction industry and the borough of Islington.”

The council’s iWork team supported 53 people into council apprenticeships in 2018/19, in disciplines ranging from events management to teaching, project management to horticulture, and plumbing to data analysis. The same team helped 167 people into apprenticeships with other employers, taking on roles in finance, healthcare, quantity surveying and business administration, among others.

To find out more about, and apply for, apprenticeships in Islington, contact the iWork team on 020 7527 2706 or at [email protected].

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