The national finalists of the AAC Apprenticeship Awards 2019 were recognised and celebrated at a special reception at the Houses of Parliament today.

Around 150 people packed into the Terrace Pavilion for the event, which also coincided with the start of the 12th annual National Apprenticeship Week.

The awards event was sponsored by the chair of the education select committee Robert Halfon, who received last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Addressing the finalists today, he said: “There’s a massive amount of work to be done and policy changes to be had but having an event like this isn’t just a nice event in the Houses of Commons, it is unbelievably important for apprenticeships.

“What this does is say we believe in the prestige of apprenticeships in our country. We want to build a skills nation and make sure every young person can climb the education and skills ladder of opportunity.

“All the award nominees are change makers, so thank you to all the providers and organisations who are here today.”

Mr Halfon added: “If we do this together and carry on it won’t just be a few small steps it will be a giant leap for apprentice kind.”

Managing director of FE Week publisher Lsect, and chair of the judging panel, Shane Mann, said: “The majority of you here today are individuals celebrating the very best in the apprenticeship sector in the UK.

“Today is about celebrating and recognising your achievements.”

Also speaking on stage was Mark Dawe, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, which co-runs the awards with FE Week.

“We’ve got the best of the best here when it comes to apprenticeships so it really does feel like a launch of National Apprenticeship Week,” he said.

“This is what it’s about. It’s about celebrating providers and recognising their excellence.”

More than 350 entries were submitted from colleges, training providers and employers for the awards, which are in their second year and run by FE Week and the Association of Education and Learning Providers.

There are now two types of awards: Route Apprenticeship Provider of the Year and National Awards.

The former will celebrate excellence in 13 individual apprenticeship routes, and winners will be named ‘apprenticeship provider of the year’.

Organisers have also introduced an award to recognise employers and providers work with SEND apprentices and increasing diversity.

Winners of all awards will be announced at a glittering ceremony during the Annual Apprenticeship Conference Gala Dinner on March 28 at the ICC in Birmingham.

The awards are part of the Annual Apprenticeship Conference, which is run in partnership with the Department for Education and will take place from 27 to 28 March at Birmingham’s ICC.

Pictured: Representatives from In-Comm, Gen2 and Abingdon and Witney College receive their finalist certificate


AAC Apprenticeship Awards 2019 shortlist (click here to enlarge)

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