An Accrington and Rossendale College Carpentry and Joinery Apprentice is opening doors – and windows – to a bright future after winning a national accolade.

Phillip Bentley, 20, from Rishton, has been Highly Commended in the Institute of Carpenters’ (IoC) Third Year Student Awards after demonstrating his talent with a gothic styled wooden window frame.

Phillip, who is completing his Level 3 Carpentry and Joinery Apprenticeship while working at H&S Joinery in Blackburn, put hours of painstaking work into his piece, and he is thrilled with the outcome. He has received a certificate from the IoC and a voucher to put towards Axminster tools.

A former student of St Augustine’s RC High School in Billington, Phillip said: “I’m very happy to have won the award – I have never taken part in a competition before so to receive a Highly Commended accolade is an amazing feeling.

“I really enjoy Carpentry and Joinery and I wouldn’t want to do anything else. I’ve always been a more practical and hands on person and I love the trade. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and have an eye for detail too, and I think that has definitely paid off for me in this competition.

“My Apprenticeship has really helped to improve my skillset and my confidence, and working with a range of equipment and tools on a day to day basis for my employer is further developing my abilities.

“When I’m at Accrington and Rossendale College, I have fantastic tutors who are knowledgeable and supportive, and the facilities are very good. It’s the best place to do Carpentry and Joinery and I would highly recommend the college to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry.”

Chris Morris, Phillip’s tutor at Accrington and Rossendale College, said: “I’m very pleased for Phillip – he is so deserving of this award for the dedication he has shown to his craft.

“Apprentices like Phillip are the reason I love my job – he is a brilliant listener and a quicker learner, and it has been fantastic to see how his skills and self-belief have grown over his years at College.

“The window frame he submitted was a very high-quality piece of woodwork, and he should be extremely proud of what he has achieved.”

Phillip’s entry impressed the industry-expert panel of judges who included the IoC President Geoff Rhodes, IoC board member Martin Corton, of Rainleaf Artisan Flooring, and YouTube Carpentry and Joinery celebrity and IoC Fellow, Robin Clevett, of UK Construction and the SkillBuilder channel.

Martin Corton said: “It was a great pleasure to judge the entrants for the IoC’s Third Year Student Awards. Phillip displayed great craft ability, thorough technical knowledge, and exceptional attitude. Carpentry and Joinery is a ‘calling’, and I’m sure Phillip has a wonderful future ahead of him in the trade.”

Accrington and Rossendale College is the number one college in Lancashire for 16-18 Advanced Apprenticeship timely achievement, and the College campus has recently undergone a major £4million transformation following its merger with Nelson and Colne College – one of the leading colleges in the country across a range of academic performance measures.

Students and Apprentices at the College have the opportunity to take part in regional and national competitions on an annual basis to stretch their talents, push them out of their comfort zones, and challenge them on tasks that they may not face in their day to day work with employers or within College.

For more information about Accrington and Rossendale College, please visit To apply, or for application support, contact the Admissions Team at or call 01282 440272.