Apprenticeships, Awards

Winners of the 2021 National Apprenticeship Awards revealed

'Dedicated' apprentices and leading employers have been handed gongs

'Dedicated' apprentices and leading employers have been handed gongs



Apprentices from Waitrose and Bentley and employers such as JCB are among the winners of this year’s National Apprenticeship Awards.

The 12 employer and 15 apprentice award winners were recognised this evening during a 90-minute livestreamed event hosted by BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker and organised by the Department for Education.

STEM ambassador handed apprenticeship champion award

Ian Green, who is senior controller and section manager at the Nissan Skills Foundation as well as being involved in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and manufacturing) ambassador hub for the north east, was named this year’s apprenticeship champion.

He has visited schools to get children interested in STEM subjects before they reach secondary schools, work which eventually led to the creation of the foundation, which has delivered to hundreds of schools and thousands of young people every year.

A former apprentice himself, “Ian believes apprenticeships can be the gateway to not just jobs but phenomenal careers,” the awards brochure says.

Employers large and small recognised

The award for small-to-medium enterprise employer has gone to Lander Automotive, an automotive and commercial vehicle components manufacturer based in Birmingham with 241 employees and 75 apprentices.

Recruitment of apprentices has been “critical for planning the future of the business and counteracting an aging workforce,” and has helped them make the majority of their employees under 40.

Wakefield Metropolitan District Council has won the large employer of the year award.

It has 4,879 employees including 419 apprentices across multiple levels and disciplines and apprenticeships help employees progress and fills hard-to-recruit positions.

“As a council with areas of substantial deprivation, apprentices give Wakefield Council the opportunity to offer young people opportunities they would not usually have, whilst helping the local economy along the way,” the brochure says.

J.C. Bamford Excavators, parent company of JCB, has this year won macro employer of the year after its apprentices won several accolades in 2020’s awards. It has 6,500 UK employees and 260 apprentices.

The world’s “third largest construction company,” has put apprenticeships at “the centre of their staff development since their foundation in 1945, and this commitment to building a bold, innovative, highly-trained workforce in-house remains the bedrock of the business,” the brochure reads.

LabCorp, a research organisation based in Harrogate, has won the recruitment excellence award this year.

Its 234 apprentices are employed mostly on science standards and the courses are “hugely important to both the company and the communities they operate in,” the brochure explains.

Apprentices who form ‘critical parts’ of their employers awarded

Nihal Dhillon, a level 6 engineering degree apprentice at JCB Earthmovers, has also won the rising star award, having “cultivated the ability to present his ideas to company directors, as well as aid other apprentices/students in their upcoming or present careers”.

Gemma Smith has been named intermediate apprentice of 2021, having just completed her level 2 in butchery.

She currently works as a meat specialist at Waitrose, Gemma has “committed to developing her professional skills and learning new things and has been self-driven in completing her apprenticeship”.

Level 3 digital marketing apprentice Jess Liddy from Google has taken home the advanced apprenticeship award.

She is “dedicated” to becoming an ambassador for apprenticeships and has “excelled in her scheme,” with her “self-confidence and ability to step outside her comfort zone having grown significantly, particularly in public speaking”.

Adam Hearn, who is currently completing a level 6 manufacturing engineering degree apprenticeship, and believes the course has “taught him a lot about himself”.

He is now a “critical part” of the team at Braintree Precision Components in Essex and has used his skills to set up an Explorer Scout group in his area.

The full list of winners

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