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Woman who battled against the odds named British Gas’ Apprentice of the Year

British Gas has named as its 2016 Apprentice of the Year a woman who had wanted to train as an engineer when she left school, but was blocked from pursuing her dream and spent 20 years working in the retail industry.   

Claire Berrett, aged 38, was given the prestigious award at a special ceremony held at the British Gas Academy in Leicester last week, in the presence of her peers, trainers and mentor.

Claire, from Bournemouth, beat off stiff competition from ten other apprentices who had been shortlisted for the award.

The former retail manager received the accolade thanks to the focus, dedication and team work she displayed during her training. 

Claire’s father was an engineer, and as a teenager she had set her heart on following in his footsteps after leaving school. However, whilst applying to join the Royal Navy as a trainee engineer, Claire discovered that her eyesight was not up to the application standard and she had to withdraw.

Despite exhaustive searching, Claire failed to find an opportunity in engineering that was right for her and instead embarked on what was to become a 20-year career on the high street. When she was made redundant, Claire decided the time was right to rekindle her childhood dream of becoming an engineer. 

Claire was selected for a two-year apprenticeship at the British Gas Academy in Thatcham, and she qualified as an engineer in December 2015, achieving her Level 3 domestic gas qualification. She now services and repairs boilers in homes across Bournemouth and Poole. 

Claire Berrett said: “I’ve always wanted to be an engineer and completing my apprenticeship at British Gas has been a dream come true.

“The facilities at the Academy are amazing and the support that I received from my tutors and mentor made the whole experience enjoyable and rewarding. 

“I’m looking forward to my career as a fully-qualified engineer and would encourage anyone, especially young girls and women who are interested in engineering, to look at an apprenticeship as a great way into the industry.”

Matthew Bateman, Managing Director for Field Operations at British Gas, commented: “We’re thrilled Claire has been named our Apprentice of the Year. 

“Claire demonstrated a fantastic attitude, great skills, and always went the extra mile to help her team mates. She’s been a model apprentice and has a bright future ahead of her.

“Claire and the other finalists for this accolade are testament to the comprehensive training we give our apprentices so they can provide excellent service to our customers.”



Notes to editors

  • More than 1,200 apprentices are being trained at British Gas’ six dedicated training Academies at Leeds, Leicester, Thatcham, Dartford, Hamilton (Scotland) and Tredegar (South Wales)
  • British Gas is regarded as a premier provider of apprentices and its training has an Ofsted rating of ‘Outstanding’ in the sector
  • The company’s apprenticeship schemes are always very popular, with an average of 30 applications for each position and a 93% achievement and retention rate.  All British Gas apprentices are employed from day one and move into roles as engineers at the end of their training

For more information contact:

Bieneosa Ebite
Senior PR Manager
British Gas
01784 84 3000

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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