Stearn’s Stephanie Thomson claims Scottish apprenticeship title

October 16, 2018
Photo of Stephanie with her partner Darren Weatherall

Stephanie and partner Darren Weatherall

The increasing role of women in the Scottish electrical industry was demonstrated recently when they dominated a new award at the sector’s most important awards ceremony, the SELECT Awards 2018.

Not only was the Electrical Distributors’ Association (Scottish Section) Wholesaler Apprentice of the Year award, introduced just last year, won by Stephanie Thomson, but also two of the other three finalists were also female.

A strong field of candidates

The award, sponsored by EDA Apprenticeships Plus, who partner with the EDA to manage and deliver the Association’s apprenticeship programme, attracted a strong field, but Stephanie, of Stearn Electric Co Ltd (Glasgow), prevailed over Michelle Mitchell, of Rexel UK (Kirkcaldy), Megan Wedderburn, of Edmundson Electrical Ltd (Kirkcaldy) and Shaun Leslie, of Holland House Electrical Co Ltd (Inverurie).

The award is being promoted by the EDA, which represents the electrical wholesale distribution industry within the UK and whose members account for some 80% of the sector.

Photo of Stephanie Thomson of Stearn

Photo caption L to R: Richard Jack, Manager, Stearn Electric Glasgow & Belfast; 2018 winner Stephanie Thomson; Margaret Fitzsimons, CEO a the EDA; Angela Devine, Account Manager at EDA Apprenticeships Plus; John Henry, MD at EDA Apprenticeships Plus.


Stephanie said:

” I am delighted to be chosen as Scotland’s Wholesaler Apprentice of the Year. It’s interesting that women were well represented in this award category, and I hope that my win will encourage others to consider the career opportunities offered by the wholesale sector.”


Patricia Henry, Operations and HR Director at EDA Apprenticeships Plus added:

“It has been another exceptional year for apprentices in Scotland which made selecting a winner a really difficult choice. The final four who were shortlisted presented themselves and their experiences as apprentices with enthusiasm and energy. We are delighted that each apprentice proved very worthy of being part of our fast-track career programme as each was offered and accepted a permanent contract.

“As the winner Stephanie was an exceptional apprentice from the beginning of training with EDA Apprenticeships Plus and Stearn. Stephanie is a talented young women who has excelled at each stage of the scheme. She is a thoughtful team member who is able to work tight deadlines and support complex issues with equal commitment and ease. She is a credit to her family and friends, her branch, the EDA and most of all to herself. We are certain that she has an excellent career in this sector ahead of her.”

Photo of winner Stephanie with her mum Sharon

Stephanie with proud mum Sharon

Vital importance

Darrell Matthews, SELECT Managing Director, said:

“The wholesale side of the electrical sector is of vital importance, which is why SELECT and the EDA have worked closely on this Award The fact that three out of four finalists tonight were women shows that it is a career of significant promise.

“As in the wider sector, excellence in training is paramount if we are to maintain a throughput of talent and maintain the highest possible standards of service and provision.”

Second winner

The award was presented by Alan Dunnet, a member of the EDA’s Board of Management and Chair of Holland House Electrical Co Ltd and John Henry, MD of EDA Apprenticeships Plus, at a gathering at the Radisson Blu in the centre of Glasgow on Friday night. (October 12)

Stephanie is the second winner of this award, following its launch in 2017. The first winner was Kellan Pirie of Electric Center, Inverurie.

Scotland’s electrical sector: diversity and strength

The evening was hosted by Shereen Nanjiani, one of Scotland’s most popular radio and television personalities and was attended by a wide range of companies, from major electrical enterprises to local firms, illustrating the diversity and strength of Scotland’s electrical sector.

Stephanie’s company, Stearn, was founded in 1924 and has grown into a well-established National Super Distributor serving the electrical industry with a network of dedicated, professional and well-trained staff.

Alan Wilson, Head of Membership and Communications at SELECT, said:

“The EDA was established 104 years ago and has for more than a century provided an essential link between manufacturers of electro-technical products and the electricians who install them.

“Its training is second to none and this award, richly deserved by the winner Stephanie Thomson, recognises the contribution apprentices make to the sector as a whole.”

SELECT’s 1250 member companies account for around 90% of all electrical installation work carried out in Scotland. They have a collective turnover of around £1 billion.

The organisation helps to shape the market environment by representing the industry to all levels of government and helps influence legislation to create industry conditions which enable member firms to provide a quality service and maintain profitability.

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