Porthleven lad named Royal Navy Apprentice of the Year

An engineer from RNAS Culdrose has been singled out for his exceptional work – having been awarded the Royal Navy’s Apprentice of the Year for Aviation.

Leading Air Engineering Technician James McInnes, who lives in Porthleven, was handed his trophy at a ceremony onboard HMS Victory on Wednesday evening, March 4.

The 29-year-old works the slip watch (overnight) at 824 Naval Air Squadron, overseeing maintenance of the Merlin Mk2 helicopters used each day for training.

He said: “My dad was in the navy so I’ve been down here in Helston all my life. I’ve now been in the navy for four years and I am fully qualified to supervise maintenance and carry out in-depth jobs.

“I’ve always enjoyed tinkering with things and this job appeals to me. It allows me to get stuck into fixing the aircraft and get my hands dirty.”

“It was a shock when they told me I’d been shortlisted for this award but it’s nice to know that all the hard work and effort has not gone unnoticed.”

He added that he volunteers for the night shift as it allows him to spend his daytimes at home with his wife Jenna and their baby daughter Bryher.

Lieutenant Commander Lee Rigby, the squadron’s air engineer officer, said: “I am hugely proud of all air engineering personnel who successfully achieve qualified status as part of the training delivered by this squadron. 

“We continue to provide the highest calibre of trained engineers to the front line, while delivering serviceable aircraft to train our aircrew in support of the wider Merlin helicopter force. 

“It gives me enormous pleasure to see LAET James McInnes gain recognition for his achievements and he should be rightfully proud of receiving this award amongst a very competitive field.”

Leading Air Engineering Technician James McInnes

It was a shock when they told me I’d been shortlisted for this award but it’s nice to know that all the hard work and effort has not gone unnoticed.