Earning for learning

Nicki Cran, who works at Pilot Drilling Control in Lowestoft, Suffolk has been named the East of England Practical Learner in the Edge Awards 2007. She will receive £2,000 in prize money to be put toward further training and will now go through to the national finals to be held in November.

The awards are sponsored by Edge, an independent foundation dedicated to raising the desirability and status of vocational and practical learning among 14 – 25 year olds of all levels of ability. Last year, Pilot Drilling Control won the East of England small organisation prize.

Nicki Cran is a trainee workshop technician at Pilot, which supplies downhole drilling tools for the oil and gas industry. A regional judging panel consisting of local business experts chose Nicki because of her commitment to learning on the job.

After leaving school with GCSEs, Nicki signed up for an engineering course at her local college. Her tutor was so impressed with her skills that he recommended her to Pilot for a work trial, where she was subsequently employed.

After three years at Pilot, she has consolidated her knowledge, particularly in maths, so that she will soon be taking on training as a programmer.

The Edge Awards reward organisations that provide outstanding learning opportunities for 14–25 year-olds and in 2007 also reward individuals for their learning achievements. This year Edge is awarding £300,000 to employers that provide quality apprenticeships, excellent work placements and other practical learning opportunities.