A STUDENT from Upper Gornal has been given the title of Apprentice of the Year by Barratt Homes West Midlands.

Ashley James won a £250 bonus from the developer as he saw off competition from the firm’s dozens of apprentices due to his "exemplary work ethic and ability".

The 22-year-old said: “I wasn’t expecting this award but it’s really great to have won it, and I’m glad my hard work has been appreciated.

"I’ve been working with Barratt Homes for two years now, after trying my hand at carpentry for just a few months, and I feel like I’ve made real progress here.”

Ashley is currently studying at Stourbridge College for his NVQ Level 3 in site carpentry, while also working at Barratt’s Oak Hill Mews development in Darlaston Road, Wednesbury.

He was nominated for the award by senior site manager and apprentice champion, Stuart Stokes, who added: “Ashley is committed to his job, his time-keeping and attendance are impeccable and his performance is superb.

"He has the right attitude and wants to better himself, and that’s very important in this industry, so he thoroughly deserves to be named our Apprentice of the Year.”