14 June 2017

A 23 year apprentice joiner from Fox Hill has been awarded construction apprentice of the year by Sheffield City Council.

Brady Hall received the honour for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Sheffield City Council works with over 250 apprentices across the city to support them through their studies and find them placements at local businesses. In a ceremony held at the town hall, 12 of these apprentices, including Brady, were recognised for their exceptional work.

Brady has been working for the small family run furniture company Freebird Fitted Furniture since April 2015.  His role includes making and installing alcove shelving, cupboards and fitted bedrooms.

When the son of the co-directors’, Alastair and Alison’s, was born 12 weeks premature with a severe brain haemorrhage he needed intensive and special care in hospital for 4 months.  Brady carried on the manufacturing in the workshop single handedly, and worked alongside a new temporary fitter to prevent the business, the family’s only source of income, from failing.

Alastair Johnson, Director at Freebird Fitted Furniture said: “Brady never wavered in his commitment and encouraged me to keep going through this stressful time, even visiting baby Isaac at Jessops hospital.  He has taken the values of the business to heart and feels like part of the family.

“My son faces ongoing disabilities which mean I need to be more available to my family, and Brady has been absolutely central in helping me create a business that can continue to function without me.”

Alastair continued: “Brady has faced challenges in his past, did not excel at school, and waited a long time to find an apprenticeship, but he stayed focused on his desire to work with wood.  Since starting with me he showed dedication and a desire to learn.   Within the first year of his apprenticeship I gave him increasing responsibility in the workshop.  It’s great to see this young man recognised for both his character and competence by awarding him apprentice of the year. We plan to put him through a team leadership qualification next, while we take on another apprentice.

“As a business owner, if you can find a young person with potential and really invest in them it will pay dividends to you both.  If you act decently towards them you may find they are faithful to you in your own unexpected time of need.  At any time, apprenticeships are an excellent model for the future of our businesses and our young people.”

Other award winners include:

  • Jane Berry, Holgate Meadows School – Hospitality & Care Apprentice of the year


  • Lewis Hughes, Morfittn Smith Estate Agents – Office Apprentice of the year

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families at Sheffield City Council, said: “Congratulations to Brady and all our award winners. Brady’s story shows what can be achieved through hard work and dedication. He is a great role model for our apprentices.

“It is important as a Council that we recognise the hard work of all our apprentices across the city and all that they achieve.  As a city we need people with the right skills. Apprenticeships are a key part of this work to help create a workforce for the future.”

If you are interested in becoming an apprentice Sheffield City Council are holding a recruitment fair on 30 June in the Town Hall. For more information or to book a place email SCCapprenticeships@sheffield.gov.uk