The BAME Apprenticeships Awards returned in style last night as over 500 guests gathered in Birmingham in what’s believed to be the largest in-person sector event to take place post-pandemic.
The awards, delivered in partnership with Pearson, mark special achievements of black, Asian and minority ethnic apprentices and of employers of all sizes across ten economic sectors, including engineering, hospitality, logistics and health.
Special awards were also bestowed on a learning provider of the year, and a university of the year. All of this year’s winners are listed below.
Last year’s flagship ceremony had to take place online, but organisers ThinkFest used the return of in-person festivities to present both 2020 and 2021 winners with their awards.
VIP speakers stressed importance of BAME apprenticeships
Kasim Choudhry, managing director of the BAME Apprentice Network, said: “The team have worked really hard this year to make this event happen and we are so happy that people have finally been able to come together to celebrate apprenticeships.”
This year’s ceremony featured VIP speakers including West Midlands mayor Andy Street, who spoke about the important role of apprenticeships in the UK’s economic recovery.
Claire Rogers, acting senior vice president at Pearson, and Rachel Cooper, technical education strategy director at the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, also took to the stage. Both stressed the importance of celebrating diversity in apprenticeships and recognising outstanding leadership in employers.
Now in their sixth year, the BAME Apprenticeships Awards “showcase talent and diversity within BAME communities” and celebrate the “contribution of learning providers and employers who have assisted them along their journey”, according to its website.
Among this year’s winners is Justina Blair, who took home the overall apprentice of the year award. Judges said that Blair, a digital and technology solutions apprentice at NatWest, “shows a real passion for the women in STEM agenda” and “works hard to inspire others in innovative ways”.