Big-name apprenticeship providers and employers such as BPP Education Group, Osborne Clarke and Learning Curve Group are among the finalists for this year’s AAC Apprenticeship Awards.
The seventh annual awards, jointly run by FE Week and the Association of Employment and Learning Providers and delivered in partnership with City & Guilds, will see individuals, training providers, employers, universities and colleges recognised for their efforts in the apprenticeship world.
Several FE colleges have made it to the national finals, including Wigan and Leigh College in the engineering and manufacturing apprenticeship provider of the year category, and Gloucestershire College for digital apprenticeship provider.
Nominations closed at the end of October and judges convened in November to review and select the finalists and winners for each of the 20 award categories.
The 20-strong judging panel included Ian Bamford, chief quality and curriculum officer at Paragon Skills, Sharon Blyfield, head of early careers at Coca-Coca Europacific Partners, and John Cope, UCAS’s director of strategy.
There were a record 380 entries this year, narrowly breaking last year’s record of 375 nominations.
Judges chose the following providers as finalists for the coveted apprenticeship provider of the year award: BPP Education Group, Bauer Academy (Bauer Radio Ltd), In-Comm Training, apprenticeships at Salford City College.
Four finalists were selected for apprentice employer of the year. These were Hob Salons Limited, Labcorp, Torus and Osborne Clarke.
Apprenticeships at Salford City College also made it into the final for the care services apprenticeship provider of the year category, alongside Paragon Skills.
BPP Education Group got a second nomination as a finalist in the legal, finance and accounting apprenticeship provider of the year.
A parliamentary reception will take place at the House of Commons in February 2024 to recognise this year’s finalists. The winners will be announced at the tenth Annual Apprenticeship Conference gala dinner on February 27 at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham.
Paul Warner, AELP director of strategy and business development, who was on the judging panel, said: “AELP is delighted to be the principal partner for the AAC Apprenticeship Awards once again. As part of the judging panel, it was inspirational hearing the amazing work that goes on across the skills sector.
“Choosing between the entrants was more difficult than ever, so this year the finalists really do deserve their nominations.”
Shane Mann, managing director of FE Week’s publisher Lsect and AAC awards co-host, said: “As chair of the judging panel, we were overwhelmed by the number and quality of the nominations we received.
“Congratulations to all finalists this year. They demonstrate that excellence happens when dedicated employers and training providers work together to provide the best quality apprenticeships on offer in the sector currently.
“We look forward to celebrating the finalists at a parliamentary reception next year before announcing the winners at the Annual Apprenticeship Conference gala dinner and awards evening.”