All eyes on tonight’s National Apprenticeships Awards

The UK’s most promising apprentices and best employers will tonight be crowned the winners of the National Apprenticeships Awards 2016.

Nine apprentices and 18 employers will take centre stage at the ceremony in Grosvenor House, London, after battling it out to be recognised as the country’s most elite in each category.

Winners of the awards, which are now in their 13th year and are run by the National Apprenticeship Service, will be decided based on a year’s worth of work demonstrating how employers can grow their own talent with apprenticeships and how apprentices have made a significant contribution to the workplace.

Skills and apprenticeships minister Robert Halfon will be speaking tonight, where he is expected to say: “Apprenticeships work. They give people of all ages and all backgrounds the ladder of opportunity to get paid experience in work and a top class qualification at the same time.

“The National Apprenticeship Awards ensure apprenticeships get the prestige they deserve, while shining a light on the fantastic work that both apprentices and their employers do.”

Nominees, who this year include employers such as Mercedes-Benz and apprentices from Siemens and Rolls Royce, have had to go through a tough process to get to the national finals.

They had to submit applications that demonstrated how they benefited from their apprenticeship and detailed their contribution to the business objectives of their employer.

Their applications were first judged at a regional level, where a panel decided the top three finalists.

Each entrant then had to “enhance” their application before submitting it to the national judging panel. The national panel then decides the country’s elite apprentice and employer winners.

There will be three apprentice winners – one from each category – and one apprenticeship champion.

Six victorious employers will also be announced. Sue Husband, the director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “We should congratulate everyone who has reached this stage and been recognised as a finalist at a national level.

“Whatever happens on the night, each apprentice and employer deserves recognition for committing to and delivering on apprenticeships. For these individuals and employers, the level of success and impact brought by apprenticeships is huge.”

FE Week will be live tweeting from the awards ceremony tonight from 6pm, on Twitter at @feweek.

The finalists

Successful National Apprenticeship Awards 2016 national finalists are:

Unilever Small Employer of the Year
– Ebsford Environmental Ltd
– ISO Quality Services Ltd
– Blu Sky Tax

British Gas Medium Employer of the Year
– Troup Bywaters + Anders
– Metalcraft
– Michael and Margaret Naylor and Associates

BAE Systems Award for Large Employer of the Year
– Mercedes-Benz UK
– John O’Conner Grounds Maintenance Ltd
– Yorkshire Housing

EON Award for Macro Employer of the Year
– Whitbread
– Lloyds Banking Group
– Mitie Group Plc

Santander Award for Newcomer SME of the Year
– Great Annual Savings Group
– APTCOO – A Place To Call Our Own
– Craggs Energy Ltd

Rolls-Royce Award for Newcomer Large Employer of the Year
– Pickfords Move Management Limited
– Bond Dickinson LLP
– Softcat

The I-Can Qualifications Award for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year
– Cameron Baker, Business Administration, Rentokil Initial
– Charlotte Blowers, Nail Services, Exceed
– Ashley Haslam, Vehicle Maintenance and Repair, Wilson’s Autos

EAL Award for Advanced Apprentice of the Year
– Becky King, Life Sciences and Chemical Science Professionals, National Physical Laboratory
– Emma Goulding, Engineering, Siemens
– Adam Sharp, Advanced Engineering Construction, Sellafield Ltd

The Nuclear Decommissioning Site Licence Companies Award for the Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year
– Melissa Loonam, Advanced Manufacturing Engineering, Rolls-Royce plc
– Jack McCarthy, Supply Chain Management, Glaxosmithkline Pharmaceuticals (Ware) Ltd
– Holly Broadhurst, Engineering, J C Bamford Excavators Ltd

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