Michael Silva, a graduate engineer student has been named as The Highland Council’s Apprentice of the Year 2023.
Michael joined the Council’s Structures Section as a graduate apprentice in 2018 after completing his 5th year at Invergordon Academy, where he finished top of his class and was rewarded with “the Highest Attainment Award”.
Although he had the opportunity to progress into 6th year and university full-time, he seized the opportunity of studying in conjunction with workplace training.
His colleagues say that since joining the team he has shown an eagerness to continually develop his knowledge and overcome challenges, becoming the team expert in using a new surveying instrument and related software.
Having graduated in Civil Engineering from Heriot-Watt University last year, Michael is now applying to study for a Master of Sciences in Bridge Engineering, which will allow him to become a chartered engineer – a calibre of engineer the council has previously struggled to attract and retain.
Chair of the Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Ken Gowans said:
“Michael has shown dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment to his profession and is a real asset.
“Although he is still in the early stages of his career, he has demonstrated his willingness to go beyond what’s expected of him, especially when it comes to overcoming challenges and take a proactive approach to his workload and continuous development.
“He is a credit to himself, his family, and the team he works with.
“He is also a great example of “home-grown” talent and shows that young people can carve out a rewarding career using their skills here in the Highlands.
“On behalf of the whole Council, I wish him every success as he continues with his studies and continues to play a key role in the team.”
Michael, who was unable to attend the Award Ceremony, is delighted to be named Apprentice of the Year.
“I was surprised to be nominated and even more so to actually win.
“I’m very grateful for the support I’ve received from my colleagues in the Structures Section.”
The judging panel reported that this was a very difficult category to judge and that all the apprentices and trainees nominated are very deserving and should be congratulated for being nominated for this award.
The other staff nominated were Kyle Manson, Pia Haddon and Ross Urquhart.
Kyle Manson joined the election team in January 2022.
With a major election on the go at the start of his apprenticeship, he quickly adapted into a very demanding, fast-paced environment, using his own initiative, and working well under pressure.
Since the election he has led the Youth Programme “Your Voice”, developed a website for young adults and has been giving presentations on elections to secondary school pupils to encourage future participation by young people.
Pia Haddon joined the Design Section of the Property Team as an Architectural Technician.
She is in her final year of study with Napier University, attending on block release.
Her colleagues speak highly of her as hard working, conscientious, organised, and knowledgeable and a great asset to the team.
She currently manages multiple construction projects, with numerous complex issues, and brings both good contract administration skills and architectural technical skills, as well as a sound level of knowledge and understanding of construction and current building regulations.
Ross Urquhart has very quickly become a valued member of the Facilities Management Team and is now one of their Apprentice Facilities Assistants in the Inverness Area.
He recently took part in a Jobs Fayre event to assist the service to attract other younger candidates to apply for Council posts.
He has shown a willingness to learn a range of new skills, is a hard worker, polite, and forward thinking.
For someone so young, he is mature beyond his years and has earned the respect of his fellow colleagues and customers speak highly of him.
The Council’s Staff Recognitions Awards were sponsored by Story Contracting, Technology One, Wipro, E J Parker Technical Services, Sustrans and J. Thomson Printers.
Winners were presented with a certificate and on their behalf Trees For Life will plant a tree to recognise their achievement.