Outstanding black, Asian and minority ethnic apprentices, as well as employers and providers leading in increasing the diversity of apprenticeships, were celebrated at a stellar awards ceremony this week.
Twelve individuals, ten employers and one provider walked away victorious from Wednesday night’s BAME Apprenticeship Awards 2020, which were held on YouTube and Facebook after the Covid pandemic forced plans for an in-person ceremony (in Edgbaston in July) to be abandoned.
But, hosted by the star of BBC comedy show Man Like Mobeen, Tez Ilyas, and Capital Xtra host Remel London, the new setting allowed the event to become what awards organisers ThinkFest called an “awesome online extravaganza”, which featured a musical performance from Aston Performing Arts Academy.
Over 100 apprentices were shortlisted for awards, which cover everything from accounting and finance to transport and logistics, and head judge Olga Bottomley said the year had been “fantastic” and the quality of the apprentices has been “phenomenal”.
“It has been a pleasure to be a part of such an amazing cause that really highlights diversity in apprenticeships,” she added.
The judging panel included Errol Ince, vice principal for STEM at London South East Colleges, former National Union of Students president Shakira Martin, and NOCN managing director Graham Hasting-Evans.
Apprentice of the year went to Kimmy Kimani, 26, (pictured left) who is completing a business administration apprenticeship with Milton Keynes College, and who won after developing a keen interest in thwarting misconceptions and myths about apprenticeships, showing her online following of 150,000 the true value of the vocational programmes.
Judges said that while all those shortlisted were “exceptional”, the award “had to go to her for her sheer commitment” as she had gone “above and beyond” by building a “fantastic platform and network where she can shout about apprenticeships”.
Employers were also recognised for their contribution to equality, diversity and inclusion in apprenticeships, with the small employer of the year award going to law firm Thrive Law, and the large employer award going to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Learning provider of the year was awarded to the JGA Group for having worked with BAME communities to “address real issues related to knife crime and county lines, removing barriers, and creating real opportunities for learning and employment”, the judges said.
They led by example, having several people from BAME backgrounds on their board as well as a network of “inspiration” role models from those communities.
Judges added: “They are actively promoting the positive benefits of apprenticeships across many sector areas and continue to raise awareness of the opportunities they generate.”
JGA was credited for making “real change and real impact within and by BAME communities”.
The event was run in partnership with education company Pearson, and Cindy Rampersaud, its senior vice president of BTEC and apprenticeships, said: “We were delighted by the number of high-quality applicants received this year.
“It has been another great opportunity to showcase and celebrate so many inspirational BAME apprentices and to learn about their individual journeys.
“We are so proud to be sponsoring these awards, seeing so many realise their potential, ambition and aspirations.
“We would like to thank all the participants, the nominees, and winners for taking part in these awards and wish them all continued success.”
- Top, left to right: Remel London, host; Kasim Choudhry, creative director, Thinkfest; Safaraz Ali; founder, Thinkfest; Tez Ilyas, host
- Bottom, left to right: Edwin Ladd, Photographer; Thinkfest; Khoram Hedayati, visuals director, Thinkfest
The full list of winners:
- Accounting and Finance – Haider Ali of Rolls-Royce
- Legal and Professional Services – Kimmy Kimani of Milton Keynes College
- Health, Medical and Social Care – Pal Kaur of Walsall Council
- Carers Award – Chipo Parirenyatwa – Mitchell’s Care Homes
- Charity, Voluntary and Public Services – Chantel Fry of EMH Group
- Retail, Hospitality and Tourism – Raginee Scudamore of University of Buckingham
- Engineering and Manufacturing – Ashaan Grewal of Royal Mail
- Construction Services – Romario Cazaubon – Mace Group
- Media and Marketing – Sofia Mumtaz of Google
- Digital and Technology – Hammad Shah of Suez Recycling and Recovery
- Transport and Logistics – Hiba Abo Slo of Arup
- Judges Choice – Samah Rafiq of Coca-Cola European Partners
- Apprentice of the Year – Kimmy Kimani of Milton Keynes College
- Financial, Legal and Professional Services – EY
- Health, Medical and Social Care – PJ Care Ltd
- Charity, Voluntary and Public Services – HMRC
- Retail, Hospitality and Tourism – Travis Perkins Plc
- Engineering and Manufacturing – Bombardier
- Construction – JS Wright & Co Ltd
- Creative and Digital – IBM
- Transport and Logistics – Transport for London
- Small Medium Employer – Thrive Law
- Large Employer – Great Ormond Street Hospital
- Learning Provider of The Year – The JGA Group