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Ex-spireite scores top award

Gareth Davies, second right, receives award from Krisa Akabusi.
Gareth Davies, second right, receives award from Krisa Akabusi.

Former Chesterfield FC footballer Gareth Davies has gone from scoring goals to saving lives and won an asbestos training industry award.

Gareth’s commitment to raising awareness of the killer building material asbestos, has seen his health and safety training company, Essential Site Skills, receive the Best Advertising Campaign Award at the recent UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) Excellence Awards.

The award was presented by Olympic sporting legend Kriss Akabusi at the glittering award ceremony held to mark the association’s tenth anniversary.

Essential Site Skills, which was founded by Gareth Davies, Catherine Storer and Stuart Goodman five years ago, was recognised by UKATA for its free asbestos training programmes it delivers to small contractors each year through the Working Well Together initiative.

Gareth personally donates five days of his time each year as well as booking and paying for venues and refreshments to run free one-day workshops to help small contractors understand how to work safely with asbestos.

Working Well Together is a construction industry initiative designed to help make construction workers more aware of health and safety and safe working practices.

Gareth said: “It was fantastic to win the award and be recognised for what we are doing in the industry, especially by UKATA as it is a respected industry awarding body.

“It is really important to me to spread awareness of the dangers of asbestos in order to safeguard the next generation of construction workers.”

Once a professional footballer with Chesterfield FC, injury saw Gareth change career in 2007 to become a bricklayer in a family run construction business. It was his experience working in the industry that inspired him to set up Essential Site Skills. The company now has offices in Nottingham and Newbury.

He added: “Having worked in construction prior to setting up Essential Site Skills, I know that we still have a long way to go as an industry and a country in making people aware of how we can prevent many deaths and illnesses caused by asbestos.”

The awards were open to all UKATA member companies. In addition to Best Advertising Campaign, the awards recognised the best in Corporate Social Responsibility, customer service, workforce development, training initiative and innovation.

Essential Site Skills was praised by UKATA judges for its company-wide commitment to raising awareness of the dangers of asbestos and providing free training to help small contractors stay safe when working with the hazardous material.

Craig Evans, UKATA chief operating officer, said: “The judges were wowed by Essential Site Skills commitment to helping small contractors remain safe and sound when working on sites that could potentially put them at risk of exposure to asbestos. We work in a very dangerous industry, so it is great to see one of our members going above and beyond at personal expense to themselves to ensure that others remain safe.”

The awards, which were held at the Radisson Blu in Nottingham, marked the tenth anniversary of UKATA, the leading authority for asbestos training provision in the United Kingdom.

UKATA was established in 2008 and has gone from strength to strength in the last ten years, now numbering more than 180 member organisations from all corners of the UK. For further information, visit www.ukata.org.uk or call 01246 824 437.