The Worshipful Company of Horners Annual Awards

The Horners promote excellence in the plastics industry through the five annual awards presented below:

Design Innovation in Plastics – Student Design Award

Established in 1985, Design Innovation In Plastics is now the longest running student plastics design award in Europe. It is an opportunity for design students to make a name for themselves, but also for universities to raise their profile as institutes of excellence in this field.

Around 300 students from 20 universities register for the competition every year with many of these universities having now incorporated Design Innovation in Plastics into their coursework.

Organised by the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining (IOM3) and the Worshipful Company of Horners,Design Innovation in Plastics is headlined sponsored by Covestro and also supported by market leaders in the fields of design and innovation.

Both IOM3 and the Worshipful Company of Horners play important roles in the field of education, and this award was set up to encourage plastics design innovation and best practice in our future product designers.

Details of the brief for entrants for the 2019 award can be found by clicking here.


Alex Roquero, a Product Design student from Brunel University, won first prize for 2018 with a cleverly designed shelf which can fit on a balcony railing and carry anything from a plant to a bottle of wine. Alex impressed the competition judges with his ‘Hook’ shelf, which is integrated with a flowerbox, and fits to any kind of railing – ideal for people who have no garden, or reduced space, and want something which hooks onto a balcony.

Thanks to its unique shape, as well as plants, it can also carry day-to-day products such as coffee mugs, wine glasses, beer bottles or even books.

To find out more and to learn about the runners up visit the news page of by clicking here.

Horners’ Award for Plastics Innovation and Design.

The Horners Award is an annual award for an imaginative or innovative contribution to the plastics industry. The Worshipful Company of Horners was founded to set and maintain standards in the ancient craft of the Horner. After it had ‘adopted’ plastics, the company introduced an award to encourage good design in plastics, these materials being the logical successor to the horn.

The Horners Award is an annual award for an imaginative or innovative contribution to the plastics industry. The Worshipful Company of Horners was founded to set and maintain standards in the ancient craft of the Horner.

Could you win the Horners Award?

Any outstanding product, machine or process could be eligible to win the prestigious Horners Award. Entries are judged from the viewpoint of their significance in the United Kingdom through the imagination and appropriate use of plastics. The Rt.Hon. The Lord Mayor of London is Patron of the Award and presents it to the winners at the Horners’ Annual Banquet in The Mansion House

The Horners Award for Plastics Innovation and Design 2018 is now officially open for entries. As the oldest plastics award in the world,  instituted in 1947, to be a winner is a real feather in the cap for a company. To find out about entering please  click here.


RLE International

The vehicle bulkhead, developed by RLE International, represents a mass saving of 34%, and a cost saving of 10%, when compared to the existing metal panel typically found in vehicles.  Key to meeting the high impact requirements was the unique integration of continuous fibre composites.  Judges recognised its light-weight and associated fuel saving advantage, and praised it as an eco-friendly development for the automotive industry as the bulkhead is also fully recyclable.

Bottlemakers Award

In 1467 The Worshipful Company of Horners’ merged with the Bottlemakers Company (who made bottles from leather) and in October 2002, at the Interplas Exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham, they announced a new annual Award for Bottlemaking. Entries for this award must be a plastic bottle, jar or hollow container, made by any process including extrusion blow, injection blow, injection stretch blow, injection moulding, rotational moulding or vacuum forming.

The entry must have significant UK content in Design, Materials or Manufacture and a proven record of commercial success.

The annual Award consists of a leather bottle made in this century by traditional methods, flanked by two silver-rimmed horn beakers, all mounted on an oak plinth. The Award that the winner retains is a smaller leather bottle, also mounted on an oak plinth which is suitably engraved.

2018 Winner  –  The Boot Buddy Bottle

The Boot Buddy won the Horners Bottlemakers gong as a creative innovation to clean muddy footwear. Judges awarded Boot Buddy Ltd with the prize because of the technical innovation, and minimal water usage in their efficient boot cleaning product.

Using just 300ml of water, the Boot Buddy features a brush for cleaning and provides an easy-grip suitable for all ages and hand sizes, controlling water flow via the bottle to the boot.

The Polymer Apprentice of the Year Award

The Polymer Apprentice of the Year Award, run jointly by the Worshipful Company of Horners and the British Plastics Federation Education & Skills Committee, aims to recognise the commitment and achievement of apprentices in the polymer industry and to encourage and support them in their development.

The award is for apprentices involved in a technical, engineering, manufacturing or design role associated with polymer processing or polymer/additive manufacturing. Nominations can be made either by the apprentice themselves, their employers or training providers. In order to be considered for the award the person must:

be engaged in – or have completed in the year up until December 2017 – a full accredited apprenticeship programme at Level 2 or 3
have had sufficient time in their apprenticeship to be able to demonstrate quantifiable achievement, both academic and in the workplace
Details of other training undertaken by the apprentice will be taken into consideration, as well as extra-curricular activities and achievements outside the workplace.

The winner is invited to attend the Livery Companies Skills Council Apprentice Certificate Ceremony in February 2019, in the City of London, where they will receive a prize of £500 and a ceremonial drinking horn, along with the Horners’ Polymer Apprentice Certificate from the Lord Mayor of London.

Polymer Apprentice of the year 2017 Winner

Excellence and achievement, in learning and using the skills associated with the polymers industry, were again evident in the candidates achieving recognition in the 2017 Horners’ Company and British Plastics Federation Apprentice Awards.

The Company, through its Polymer Committee, looks to encourage and promote education and training in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) generally, and in the skills vital to the polymers industry particularly. The BPF, for its part, is seeking to promote further development of education and training within and for the polymer industry, to address the “skills gap” and to attract talented young people into the industry. The Polymer Apprentice Awards, which not only celebrate achievement, but also demonstrate opportunity in the industry, are an important part of this developing cooperation. The competition is open to apprentices (and those who have recently completed their apprenticeships) employed in a technical, engineering, manufacturing or design role in the polymers industry.

The standard of the entries was again high, and the judges (two Horners and two representatives of the BPF Education and Skills Committee), who were looking, not just for a high standard of achievement, but also for evidence of strong commitment and personal initiative, as well as for engagement outside the workplace, considered a shortlist of four candidates.

The first prize was awarded to to Oliver Marsh of MGB Plastics (Britain’s largest manufacturer of wheelie bins), whose exceptional achievement the panel also adjudged to deserve the award of a Polymer Apprentice Certificate under the conditions of the Livery Skills Council Apprentice Certificate Scheme. Oliver demonstrated a high level of achievement in completing parallel apprenticeships in Mechanical Engineering (with Distinction) and Plastics Processing. However, he made the biggest impression with his leadership role in the numerous improvement projects which he undertook, showing great ingenuity, the most important being the engineering of improvements to a high-technology process, which reduced changeover time to a fraction of that previously achieved, providing very substantial cost savings. Out of work, Oliver plays in a rock band and has developed a taste for sailing.

Oliver attended the Livery Companies Skills Council Award Ceremony in Glaziers’ Hall on 26th February. At this impressive event, the Lord Mayor, Alderman Charles Bowman, and the masters or deputy masters of fourteen livery companies, all splendidly robed, gathered to present Master, Journeyman and Apprentice certificates, recognising career and skills progression and achievement in the crafts and industries associated with their companies. Oliver, having accepted, from the Deputy Master Horner, the ”Charge”, which required him to “uphold the high standards expected of all who receive the Apprenticeship Certificate and do your best to continue diligently with your academic and practical studies in the polymers industry”, received the Horners’ Company / BPF Polymer Apprentice Certificate from the Lord Mayor. The Deputy Master Horner then presented Oliver (who was accompanied by his proud parents), with the first prize of a ceremonial drinking horn and a cheque for £500.

The Deputy Master Presents Oliver Marsh with his award and a ceremonial drinking horn.

and also receives his award from the Lord Mayor.

Oliver with parents and Horners.

The judges awarded runner-up prizes (of £200) to two other candidates, considered to be to be of an excellent standard. Tom Fletcher served his apprenticeship in engineering at Polypipe Civils, manufacturers of plastic piping systems. Although already in employment he sought the challenge and career potential of an apprenticeship, during which, with great determination, he learnt new disciplines, instigated and completed new projects and helped to develop the newer apprentices. He has now been given primary responsibility for the maintenance of a new factory. Tom Rayson is serving his engineering apprenticeship at RPC Containers Limited, Market Rasen, manufacturers of plastic packaging. He has demonstrated professionalism and commitment in all the areas he has worked, and has shown good technical understanding and communication skills. He has designed a new piece of equipment for making engineering parts.

The fourth finalist, James Vincent, received a Certificate of Commendation for his achievement in his apprenticeship, being served at Luxus Ltd, a technical plastics compounding and recycling company. After training on laboratory testing equipment as well as plastics processing machinery, he has trained other technicians, has shown good technical understanding and displayed confidence in conducting material trials for clients, and has shown great initiative in carrying out and presenting various projects, internally and externally.

Amazingly, both runners up and the highly commended candidate come from and work in Lincolnshire. It was therefore decided to hold a presentation event in the county, and RPC Market Rasen kindly offered to host this. The event took place on 9th March, and the Master travelled to present the certificates. This was a convivial event, enjoyed by all, with a lunch and an interesting factory tour following the presentations.

Both the Horners’ Polymer Committee and the BPF considered that the competition was again successful, not just in rewarding achievement, but also in demonstrating the skills attainment, job satisfaction and career potential offered by an apprenticeship in the polymers industry.


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The Master Presents Tom Fletcher with his award at Market Rasen.

and Tom Rayson also  receives his award from the Master.

James Vincent receives his Commendation from the Master.

The Horners Jewellery and Fashion Accessory Award

(previously known as the Jewellery Award)
This award, given by the Horners in conjunction with the Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (London Metropolitan University), is founded on charitable and citizen based motivation to raise social awareness and support charitable activities. This annual award is for the most effective use of plastics and/or horn in a range of durable, wearable jewellery.

Students are invited to submit for subsequent charitable auction, wearable jewellery (using plastics and/or horn) which appeals to the charitable supporters of the Livery.

Students are encouraged to design with an environmental mindset in relation to the choice of materials, recyclable materials and waste. Stock jewellery findings (e.g. broche pins) may be used if integral to the design.

Consideration is given to a practical and visually effective method of displaying the jewellery for auction/sale/delivery at the Master’s Charity Evening. Submission for judging should include one A2 Concept Board and the finalised artefact.

Judging Criteria

The judges look for:

  • Imaginative design and material use
  • Wearability and durability
  • Suitability in relation to target audience
  • Concept, display and presentation

The Horners Jewellery and Fashion Accessory Award

As there were no entries in 2018 worthy of this award, it was not given.

2017 Winner

First prize was awarded to Dominik Wiecek for a gilded metal tumbler, with gold and silver plating, and horn ornaments; the horn panels can be detached for ease of cleaning.

The Runner up was Nicola Trowers for her Horn necklace.

Both pieces and other quality entries were auctioned in aid of the Master’s Charity in June at the Horners Charity Evening event at Painter Stainer’s Hall to which Dominik and Nicola were guests.

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