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Soldier named British Gas’ Apprentice of the Year

A newly qualified engineer, who swapped firing ceremonial guns salutes for the Queen for fitting smart meters in people’s homes, has been named as British Gas’ 2014 Apprentice of the Year.  


Steve Coughlan, aged 30, was awarded the prestigious award at a special ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel in Leicester last night (Thursday 14th May).


Steve, from Sudbury in Suffolk, beat off stiff competition from four other apprentices who had been shortlisted for the award.


The former soldier received the accolade thanks to the focus, dedication and team work he displayed during his training.


Steve was a member of The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, and took part in ceremonial events such as Trooping the Colour. He also served in Iraq from 2006 to 2007.


Steve left the Army wanting to learn new skills and embarked on an apprenticeship at the British Gas Dartford Academy in April 2013. He qualified as a Smart Energy Expert in May 2014 and now fits smart meters in customers’ homes across Suffolk.


This is the first time in the 10-year history of the awards programme that the shortlist has been extended to include Smart Energy Experts. It reflects how smart metering has become a key focus for British Gas, with around 1.8 million smart meters already installed by the company in homes and businesses across Britain.

Steve said: “I can’t believe I’ve won this award – I’m still in shock. To be named British Gas’ Apprentice of the Year means so much to me.


“I left the Army to learn new skills and my apprenticeship has given me so much more than I ever expected. I’m loving my job and helping customers.


“I’m now training to be a mentor to support new apprentices so I can pass on the knowledge I received when I started.”


David Marsh, Head of British Gas’ Academies, commented: “We’re thrilled Steve Coughlan has been named our Apprentice of the Year.


“He demonstrated a fantastic attitude, great skills, and always went the extra mile to help his team mates. He’s a shining star and has a bright future ahead of him.


“Steve, and the other finalists, are testament to the comprehensive training we deliver to our apprentices so they can provide excellent service to our customers.”



Notes to editors


  • British Gas is one of the largest apprenticeship providers in the UK


  • Over 1,200 apprentices are being trained at British Gas’ six dedicated training Academies. They are in Leeds, Leicester, Thatcham, Dartford, Hamilton (Scotland) and Tredegar (South Wales)


  • The Academies deliver approximately 100,000 training days each year and in 2013 alone, British Gas invested £13m in its apprenticeship scheme. 


  • British Gas is regarded as a premier provider of apprentices and has an Ofsted judgement of ‘Outstanding’ in the sector. 


  • The apprenticeship schemes are always very popular with an average of 30 applications for each position and a 95% achievement and retention rate.  All British Gas apprentices are employed from day one and move into roles as engineers at the end of their apprenticeship.


  • Smart meters help people see how much energy they use and what they spend in pounds and pence. It means an end to estimated bills as smart meters send billing information to the supplier, such as British Gas, automatically. 

For more information contact:

Simon Feldman

British Gas is Britain’s leading energy supplier, and serves around 11 million homes in Britain – nearly half the country’s homes – as well as providing energy to around half a million British businesses. British Gas provides value for money, dedicated customer service, innovative energy solutions and the highest quality Homes Services expertise in the country. Find out more at

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