Star Refrigeration apprentice shortlisted as finalist for RAC Student of the Year Awards

  • RAC Student of the Year Awards 2018 nominee Tom Woolston

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James Ward

Operations Director

Star Refrigeration apprentice shortlisted as finalist for RAC Student of the Year Awards

Industrial refrigeration apprentice Tom Woolston has been nominated for the prestigious RAC Student of the Year Awards. The Bristol-based engineer fought off competition from many other applicants to reach the final ten.

An industrial refrigeration apprentice at Star Refrigeration’s maintenance and service branch in Bristol has made it into the top ten finalists for the RAC Cooling Industry Awards 2018, in the Student of the Year Category.

Tom Woolston’s hard work will be recognised later this month at the RAC Cooling Awards 2018, which will take place at the London Hilton on Park Lane on the 26th September. Alongside nine other finalists, Tom’s achievements will be acknowledged in front of an audience of 500 industry professionals and all 10 finalists will get a years’ free membership with the Institute of Refrigeration (IOR). The best three nominees will walk off with a cash prize.

Now in its 24th year, the RAC National Student of the Year Awards is set to recognise and reward the industry’s best up-and-coming engineers. In close association with the IOR, the Awards celebrate those who have really grasped the opportunities the sector offers for challenging and exciting careers. It also provides a snapshot of training levels in the sector which is a crucial part of the IOR’s mission to improve standards.

Keeping his feet firmly on the ground and looking to the future, Tom is keen to share his enthusiasm for refrigeration by encouraging others to consider a career in the industry. Tom said, “Based upon my experiences and thorough enjoyment over the last three years, I would advise anyone thinking about starting a career in refrigeration to grasp the opportunity with both hands. If they apply themselves, work hard and take every chance to learn at college and in the workplace and if they are prepared to motivate themselves to be the best that they can, they will not look back”.

“Refrigeration systems are essential in every aspect of life and there are vast opportunities within this industry. The more I learn, the more interesting the refrigeration industry becomes.”

After gaining a Level 2NVQ Diploma in Installing and Maintaining Refrigeration Systems, Tom went on to study for his Level 3 NVQ Diploma at Eastleigh College. His lecturers have described him as a confident and self-motivated young man who works equally well in a team as on his own, providing support to his fellow students when the opportunity presented itself, and as an individual capable of working well under pressure.

His colleagues at Star Refrigeration have been equally impressed with his knowledge, enthusiasm and dedicated work ethic during his time with the team. Gary Jones, Tom’s Service Manager at Star Refrigeration, said, “Since joining Star Refrigeration, he has become a valuable member of the engineering team at Bristol, assisting with a variety of tasks from maintenance visits on large industrial ammonia refrigeration systems to reactive works on a variety of cooling installations. We are now exposing Tom to more complex tasks and sites and he is given the opportunity to work on large industrial contracts. He is likely to progress to become an engineer by the end of the year and I fully expect him to rapidly rise through the Star grading systems”.

Star’s training manager Dave Bartlett has also praised Tom, underlining his capacity for learning and thirst for improvement. “When Tom attended one of our regional offices for an interview, he impressed us with his understanding of refrigeration and his desire for development. He was made an offer of employment and it became evident that we had gained a young man who was willing to take on projects that others were apprehensive of getting involved in”, said Dave. “I am sure Tom will prove a great asset to the company and have a long and rewarding career ahead of him at Star Refrigeration”.

It’s not the first time that a Star apprentice has been nominated for such a prize. In 2014, Lyell Perks was crowned Student of the Year, while Sam Gills claimed the ACR Trainee of the Year Award 2018.

Tom’s colleagues and management team will join him at the Awards Ceremony later this month to offer support and encouragement.

The Cooling Industry Awards which will take place on 26 September 2018 at London Hilton, Park Lane will bring together an audience of over 500 industry heavyweights including end users, clients, manufacturers, designers, distributors, consultants, contractors and service companies to recognise and celebrate the very best in the industry.