A Cwmbran man has been named Apprentice of the Year by electricity provider Western Power Distribution.

Twenty-eight-year-old Gareth Bates, from Pontnewydd, secured the coveted title for the company’s South Wales region.

He joined WPD in September 2013 as an apprentice overhead linesman, and recently completed his training at the company’s Ty Coch depot.

A former pupil of North Road Primary and Croesyceiliog Comprehensive schools, Gareth gained a degree in Criminology at UWIC before joining WPD.

A keen rugby player who currently plays for Croesyceiliog RFC, Gareth and his partner Kayleigh have two children, Mason aged four and one-year-old Gracie.

WPD’s Gwent team manager, Paul Thomas, who nominated Gareth, said: “Our apprentice recruitment programme continues to flourish, producing outstanding nominations for the annual apprentice shield. This recognises individuals who have demonstrated high standards in both their practical work and their Technical Apprenticeship Record.

“Gareth has been outstanding, delivering his work with pride and to a very high standard. All his reports were completed on time and were of high quality. He is also a genuinely nice guy and a real asset to the team.”

Gareth received a cash prize of £500 and his name was engraved on WPD’s apprentice shield. He was also presented with a certificate and an engraved tankard by WPD Chief Executive Robert Symons, who congratulated him on his achievement.

A total of 130 WPD apprentices completed their training this year and have now moved into full time development roles.