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What On The Tools’ Apprentice of the Year is doing now

clock 4 months ago

In 2019, On The Tools awarded Todd, a scaffolder with Downs’ Syndrome, the title Apprentice of the Year at the On The Tools Awards.

Todd was nominated for overcoming his fear of heights, his energy, and his commitment to learning during his apprenticeship. He won with over 4,500 public votes from the On The Tools community.

We caught up with Todd and Coles Scaffolding to chat about what Todd’s award meant and how things are going…

How it started

Having a deep interest in construction, Todd had been asking Martyn Coles, of Coles Scaffolding, for a work placement for years. His career with Coles scaffolding began when Martyn asked Todd’s mum for permission to work with him.

Martyn was quickly impressed by Todd’s hard work, determination, and enthusiasm. It wouldn’t be long before Todd impressed thousands of members of the On The Tools community as well.

How it’s going

Towards the end of 2019, a public vote via the On The Tools community took place, to vote for Apprentice of the year. A staggering 4,500 people voted for Todd Scanlon, who had been nominated for the award for overcoming his fear of heights, and for his energy and commitment to learning in his apprenticeship.

“Since Todd’s won apprentice of the year, he’s been to college and done his scaffold assistant card… It’s a massive achievement. The exposure has been great for people with Downs’ and construction as a whole. It can be done.”

– Martyn Coles, MD Coles Scaffolding

Additional needs in construction

There are around 40,000 people in the UK living with Down’s Syndrome, and countless others with additional needs. However, people who have Down’s syndrome often face barriers and prejudice, lack of opportunities, low expectations, stereotyping and other negative attitudes, says the Down’s Syndrome Association.

The votes for Todd and his eventual award clearly show how the On The Tools community has embraced Todd for who he is. Comments from the story about Todd include:

“Top lads. More companies should do the same.”

“Absolutely brilliant. Hats off to you and your company for giving this guy a start when normally he would be overlooked. Respect.”

According to the Labour Force Survey in 2017, people with disabilities make up around 9.3% of the construction industry workforce. By taking the lead of Todd Scanlon and Coles’ scaffolding, we can help this percentage to rise.


Visit GoConstruct for more information about disability in construction.
Watch Todd win apprentice of the year here.
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