Paul battles vision problems to win top apprentice award

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Bishopbriggs man Paul Don has won first prize in his field at the APSE National Apprentice of the Year Awards.

Paul, 21, an apprentice with East Dunbartonshire Council, was up against fierce competition from throughout the UK, but his ability earned him the winner’s title in this year’s Housing and Building (Professional ServicesO) Category.

Yet only a few years ago he found he has both dyslexia and Meares-Irlen – a form of vision stress that makes it difficult to read and see small details.

He said: “After my diagnosis I was even more set on proving what I could do and took on challenges at school and college and achieved what I set out to do.

“I want to thank everyone at the council who has supported me every day over the last year and helped me get this far.”

He was named Student of the Year while studying for his HNC in Building Services Engineering at North Glasgow College, but despite being offered two university places decided to take on a four year apprenticeship at the council to get practical work experience.

Since then he has been involved in a range of major infrastructure projects including new schools and a community centre.

The skills and experience gathered during his time with the Council enabled him to speak confidently and expertly in his award interview, impressing the judges with his commitment and obvious knowledge of his field.

Paul said: “I am over the moon and can’t quite believe that, with nominations from across the country, I made the shortlist and went on to win.

“I was nervous but had great support from my colleagues who were all willing me on. The reaction since I won has been amazing and I am just chuffed to bits for myself and my family who are all very proud.

“I have loved my first year at the council and am convinced that in choosing an apprenticeship over the other options available to me, I have absolutely done the right thing.”

Council Leader Rhondda Geekie said: “I am absolutely thrilled for Paul. He is a remarkable young man who is so hard-working, enthusiastic and positive. This is a wonderful recognition for him and richly deserved. To win against UK-wide competition is an outstanding achievement. Well done Paul!”