National Apprenticeship Awards finalists revealed

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Finalists for the National Apprenticeship Awards next month have been announced.

Neil Cain, Michael Motley and Joshua Uwadiae make up the three-strong field for apprenticeship champion of the year and were among the national finalists.

All three had already been crowned regional winner, with Neil representing East of England, Michael representing the East Midlands and Joshua representing London.

Neil Cain, aged 51, is operations director at John O’Conner (Grounds Maintenance) Ltd, based in Welwyn, Hertfordshire.

He began his career in horticulture 30 years ago with an apprenticeship at Sunderland Parks Department, and developed John O’Conner’s apprenticeship scheme.

Michael Motley, 61, managing director at TQ Training, in Braunston Daventry, Northamptonshire, left school at 16 to join the steel works in Scunthorpe as an apprentice metallurgical technician.

He introduced the first apprenticeship scheme in the army, and has also led and promoted apprenticeship programmes for FE and independent learning providers.

Joshua Uwadiae, 22, was expelled from school at the age of 15, and began an IT systems and networking apprenticeship with eCourier at the age of 18.

After completing his apprenticeship, he continued working at eCourier and was promoted to IT manager. He now runs his own tech company.

The winner will be announced at the national awards ceremony on January 26, at Grosvenor House, London.

Last year’s apprenticeship champion of the year was bricklayer and 2013 WorldSkills gold medal winner Ashley Terron.

The national winners of the advanced, higher and intermediate apprentice of the year awards will also be announced at the ceremony, along with apprenticeship employers of the year.

Here are all the finalists:

The EAL Award for Advanced Apprentice of the Year

April Bell, Monica F Hewitt

Lauren Tiller, BT

Joshua White, IBM United Kingdom Ltd

The Nuclear Decommissioning Site Licence Companies Award for the Higher Apprentice of the Year

Jade Aspinall, MBDA UK Ltd

Sean Norgate, BT

Joanne Sharples, BAE Systems

The McDonald’s Award for the Intermediate Apprentice of the Year

Ashleigh Everett, 20, Boldero and Filby

Kathleen Sandford, 20, The Community Housing Group

Freya Ward, 22, Napier Partnership Ltd

The City & Guilds award for the Apprenticeship Champion of the Year Award

Neil Cain, 51, John O’Conner (Grounds Maintenance) Ltd

Michael Motley, 61, TQ Training

Joshua Uwadiae, 22, Superlative Youth

The Unilever Award for Small Employer of the Year

Adary Joiners

Beauty Oasis Spa


The E.ON in partnership with the National Skills Academy for Power Award for Medium Employer of the Year Ltd

Genix Healthcare Ltd

Troup Bywaters + Anders

The BAE Systems Award for Large Employer of the Year

Clarkson Evans Ltd


Leibherr GB Ltd

The BT Award for Macro Employer of the Year

BAE Systems plc

Lloyds Banking Group

Sellafield Ltd

The EDF Energy Award for Newcomer SME of the Year

Buckinghamshire Care


Vector 7

The Rolls-Royce Award for Newcomer Large Employer of the Year

Be Wiser Insurance

Highways England

UBS Wealth Management

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