Suffolk: Trainees and employers celebrate success at regional round of National Apprenticeship Awards

Suffolk's winners in the Central Eastern round of the National Apprenticeship Awards, Andrew Athey,

Suffolk's winners in the Central Eastern round of the National Apprenticeship Awards, Andrew Athey, left, of JEB Engineering (Medium Employer of the Year) and Daniel Swain (Advanced Level Apprentice of the Year). - Credit: Archant

Apprentices and apprenticeship employers across Suffolk have celebrated success at the Central Eastern ceremony of the National Apprenticeship Awards for 2014.

The winners and highly commended entries were announced at a ceremony held at the Cambridge Belfry Hotel in Cambourne.

The National Apprenticeship Awards, now in their eleventh year, are run by the National Apprenticeship Service and recognise excellence in two areas: businesses that grow their own talent with apprentices and apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.

Suffolk manufacturer JEB Engineering Design from Mildenhall took home the Regional NDSLC Medium Employer of the Year award while Daniel Swain, aged 22 from Great Cornard in Sudbury, received the Advanced Apprentice of the Year award for his commitment to his apprenticeship with Delphi Diesel Systems in Sudbury.

JEB Engineering currently employs 13 apprentices. Steve Starling, HR and training manager, said: “For more than 35 years JEB has invested in apprenticeships. Many senior positions are now being held by staff whose careers began as an apprentice, including the current managing director.”

Daniel, who is completing a mechanical engineering apprenticeship, said: “My Apprenticeship has opened up fantastic opportunities for me including working across the UK and abroad.

“My exceptional academic performance has even resulted in me being profiled by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. I look forward to continuing to build on my already solid career foundations and inspiring future apprentices with my story.”

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Two other apprentices from Suffolk also received awards on the night. Jamie Mullen, 20, from Kesgrave was highly commended in the Unilever Higher Apprentice of the Year category for his dedication to his apprenticeship with BT, and Kieran Page, 20, from Ipswich, was highly commended in the Advanced Apprentice of the Year category for his enthusiasm for his creative and digital media Apprenticeship with White Space in Ipswich.

In addition, Shane Allum, 25, also from Ipswich, was also highly commended in the Central Eastern City & Guilds Apprenticeship Champion of the Year Award.

Shane, who is apprentice development coach with BT, said: “Having completed my own apprenticeship in ICT I was inspired to help other young people to take the same route. In my current role I assess, mentor and coach 38 higher apprentices, working closely with University Campus Suffolk to drive the quality of the foundation degree our apprentices study.”

All the Central Eastern winners will proceed through to a final national judging stage, and the apprenticeship employer entries judged to be the very best of the best will have the additional honour of featuring in the acclaimed Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list, which will be produced by the National Apprenticeship Service in partnership with City & Guilds.

The Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers and the national award winners will be revealed during the national ceremony at the LG Arena in Birmingham on the November 13.

Karen Riley, the National Apprenticeship Service’s deputy director, employer and delivery services central, said: “The National Apprenticeship Awards are an excellent platform to recognise and celebrate the dedication shown by all our excellent apprenticeship employers and apprentices.

“The quality of entries we have had for the Central Eastern awards this year has been exceptional. Those who have won should celebrate their success. But every apprentice and employer who entered can be proud of what they have achieved.

“We want it to become the norm for young people to choose between an apprenticeship or university as equally prestigious routes to a great career and a secure financial future. Apprenticeships are at the heart of the Government’s drive to equip people with the skills employers need to grow and compete.

“A campaign is calling on young people to ‘Get In, Go Far’ by choosing an apprenticeship and with the huge range available across England, there has never been a better time to become an apprentice. They enable people to gain the skills and knowledge they need to succeed, in some cases up to degree level, while working and earning.

“Apprenticeships continue to grow in popularity, and events like the National Apprenticeship Awards showcase just how beneficial they are for both employers and individuals. I hope everyone who received an award on the night is proud of their achievements, and continues to fly the flag for Apprenticeships throughout their career.”