The winners of the Annual Apprenticeship Awards 2020 have been crowned at a glittering ceremony in Birmingham tonight.
More than 500 sector leaders, staff and apprentices gathered to find out the results of the awards, which are run by FE Week and the Association of Employment and Learning Providers.
Forty-four organisations and individuals had been shortlisted in 22 categories after more than 350 entries were submitted by colleges, training providers and employers.
New apprenticeship and skills minister Gillian Keegan was in attendance to celebrate the winners.
Taking home the provider of the year award was Leeds College of Building.
Judges said it was “clear” from their application and evidence that they “were enthusiastically dedicated to helping apprentices achieve their full potential, and absolutely committed to steering the next generation of innovators”.
Employer of the year was awarded to Hays Travel, which took over Thomas Cook this year.
“Hays Travel is a true believer and champion of apprenticeships,” the judges said. “It was evident from their application that apprenticeships are embedded within their organisations culture and thus valued and supported by stakeholders.”
This year’s special recognition awards were handed to former skills minister Anne Milton, and her former opposite number Gordon Marsden.
And apprenticeships expert and veteran Beej Kaczmarczyk received the lifetime achievement award.
Shane Mann, managing director of FE Week’s publisher Lsect, said: “We were delighted to award Beej with the lifetime achievement award. Beej has given so much to education throughout his career.
“He is also one of the great characters of the FE sector, regularly putting the ‘fun’ into funding analysis and has a magic way of entertaining those who he supports and informs on sometimes the driest of subjects.
“As he nears his retirement, and the possibility of finally realising his aim of getting in more golf, it is perfect timing, and massively well-deserved.”
Mann added: “Tonight we also recognise the contribution made by two former MPs, Anne Milton and Gordon Marsden. As front bench MPs for government and opposition they made significant contributions to the apprenticeships sector in the UK and globally.
“Regardless of whether you agree with their political decisions and positions, it is undeniable that they placed enormous energy into improving the apprenticeship sector. They are both worthy recipients of this year’s awards.”
AELP chief executive Mark Dawe said: “We’ve had another fabulous evening celebrating all that is best about apprenticeships and the hard working people who offer bright futures to learners who embark on our flagship skills programme.
“Congratulations to a great set of winners and it’s really pleasing that Gillian Keegan has been here with us to hear about these wonderful success stories.”
Look out for more coverage in FE Week’s AAC supplement later this week.
Here are the 2020 award winners in full:
Route Apprenticeship Provider of the Year
Agriculture, Environmental & Animal Care
British Racing School
Business & Administration
Derby Business College Limited
Catering & Hospitality Apprenticeship
Digital – Sponsored by BCS
Manchester Metropolitan University
Education & Childcare
Aspiration Training Ltd
Engineering & Manufacturing
Abingdon and Witney College
Hair & Beauty – Sponsored by VTCT
Truro and Penwith College
Health & Science
Performance Through People
Legal, Finance & Accounting
Sales, Marketing, Procurement
Transport & Logistics
Performance Through People
Promoting Apprenticeships campaign
Newcastle & Stafford Colleges Group
SEND Apprenticeship Champion Award – sponsored by CognAssist
Apprenticeship Diversity Award
Outstanding contribution to the development of apprenticeships (employer) Sponsored by City & Guilds ILM
Little Inspirations Ltd
Outstanding contribution to the development of apprenticeships (individual) Sponsored by City & Guilds ILM
Jane Hadfield, Health Education England
Outstanding contribution to the development of apprenticeships (provider) Sponsored by City & Guilds ILM
South Devon College
Apprentice Employer of the Year
Apprenticeship Provider of the year | sponsored by BKSB
Leeds College of Building
Special recognition award
Lifetime achievement award