Two engineering firms have triumphed at the Apprenticeship Awards; Tube Lines Ltd and BT have engineered success by seeing off competition to win Large Employer of the Year and Macro Employer of the Year respectively. England’s best apprentices were last night recognised at the 2009 Apprenticeship Awards held at Old Billingsgate, London. Run by the National Apprenticeships Service, the Awards celebrated the achievements of apprentices and their employers.
At a ceremony hosted by Rugby World Cup winner Matt Dawson, people working in industries from motor to marine and from retail to rail came together to celebrate the successes of Apprenticeships.
The engineering sector has a history of success at the awards with a total of twenty-one finalists in the last five years – a record six of these are finalists in this year’s Awards.
The Apprenticeships programme has been a valuable source of skilled talent for Tube Lines. The company has gone from facing a serious shortage of skills six years ago to being London’s largest employer of apprentices with a 19 per cent increase in uptake in 2009. Winning this award demonstrates Tube Lines’ commitment to training and development.
Nicky Belben, Director of Human Resources at Tube Lines said:
“New recruits into our Apprenticeship programme can see that there is a clear path to climb at Tube Lines and that they will be offered the best training with some of the best engineers in the industry. We are so proud to win an Apprenticeship Award as it is evidence of our ongoing commitment to the development of educational and vocational training for aspiring engineers.”
Despite the current economic climate, both employers and apprentices have successfully used Apprenticeships to make them stand out. The Awards recognise and celebrate the hard work, commitment and achievements of apprentices and employers who drive business performance and productivity with apprentices.
BT has a well established Apprenticeship programme with plans to grow its number of apprentices by 25 per cent by September 2009. Commenting after its second consecutive award win, Dave Walsh, Head of Apprenticeships at BT said:
“To be a winner is a great achievement and is very exciting, the whole team is really pleased. We really believe in Apprenticeships and take our programme above and beyond the basic requirements. We are constantly increasing the types of Apprenticeships on offer and activities available to our apprentices as we recognise the true value of the programme to our business.”
Simon Waugh, Chief Executive of the National Apprenticeship Service, said that the Awards were a fitting recognition of apprentice’s achievements and it was encouraging to see employers committed to Apprenticeship training:
“Apprenticeships are vital to business in today’s challenging times – particularly as we prepare for the upturn.
“We need a skilled workforce. We need employees that are motivated and fully engaged in what they do so they can build skills to fulfil their potential. Many thousands of employers across the country recognise this and are actively investing in their people every day. The Apprenticeship Awards celebrate “winning by doing”, both for apprentices and employers who employ apprentices,” he said.
Awards presenter and former three-time Lions team player Matt Dawson said:
“It’s a real honour to be involved in this year’s national Apprenticeship Awards. It has been truly inspiring. I believe Apprenticeships are tremendously important to Britain’s future. They unlock talent and provide a viable, alternative route for individuals to pursue a career and gain personal and professional satisfaction.
“No one knows more than me just how important training is to help you bring your A-game to the pitch. These winners have shown that they are not only true team players but they really are at the top of their game in their respective areas.”
This year’s Apprenticeship Awards attracted 1,058 entries, representing individuals and companies from all over England vying to win one of three Apprentice of the Year or one of five Employer of the Year Awards at yesterday’s ceremony [16 July].
Skills and Apprenticeships Minister Kevin Brennan said:
“Apprentices are playing a crucial role in ensuring Britain overcomes the challenging times ahead. That’s why this Government will fund Apprenticeship places for one in five young people by 2020 and make more places available; real help, where our country needs it most.
“These Awards have proved that apprentices are ‘doers’ who make things happen, which is why Apprenticeships remain a key component of the Government’s economic and employment strategy. Better skills provide measureable benefits to people across the country and Apprenticeships are vital to give the competitive edge we need to thrive in the global economy.”
For more information about the Awards ceremony visit www.apprenticeships.gov.uk or call 08000 150 600.
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