Brewin Dolphin’s Robert Irving receives the Large Employer of the Year Award from Judith Doyle of Gateshead College

Two North East businesses have been recognised for their ongoing commitment to supporting the next generation of skilled employees at a regional awards ceremony which celebrates apprenticeships.

Newcastle-based wealth management firm Brewin Dolphin has been named as Large Employer of the Year and events management company Hen and Stag was named as Small Employer of the Year at the annual Gateshead College Edge Awards for Apprenticeships.

Brewin Dolphin was recognised for its commitment to developing new talent through apprenticeships following the introduction of a successful training programme which saw 12 new recruits in the first year. The company was championed for its forward-thinking approach to both recruitment and guidance and for providing apprentices with a well-rounded experience with a focus on career progression.

Small Employer of the Year, Hen and Stag won the small employer award for implementing its very first apprenticeship programme, which was developed in partnership with Gateshead College. The business has already seen improvements in efficiency and productivity.

The Edge Awards for Apprenticeships’ judging panel was made up of local industry experts, which included Ross Smith, director of policy at the North East England Chamber of Commerce, Michelle Rainbow, skills director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and Chris Toon, deputy principal at Gateshead College.

Judith Doyle, principal and chief executive at Gateshead College, said: “We are delighted to recognise these companies at our annual awards. Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for companies to develop their future workforce and become more productive while also supporting the next generation.

“There is still work to be done to grow the number of apprenticeships on offer for our young people and we will continue to play our important role as a college to engage with businesses and support them on their journey to develop apprenticeship programmes.

“We’re in a very strong position as one of the top colleges in the country for success rates and our growing customer list is testament to Gateshead College’s strategy to deliver training programmes that are developed with businesses and tailored specifically to meet their needs.”

Robert Irving, Brewin Dolphin’s head of business support, Newcastle, said: “We are thrilled to have won the ‘Large Employer of the Year’ at the Gateshead College Edge Awards for Apprentices. Over the past year, we have worked closely with Gateshead College to find and develop new talent through a training programme, and are pleased to have given 12 budding professionals the chance to experience a vibrant financial services work environment.

“The chancellor, in his recent Budget, put emphasis on the creation of more apprenticeship schemes, and we at Brewin Dolphin recognise the importance of nurturing talent through meaningful and valuable work experience, with a view to developing future careers.”

Stephen Mchugh, founder of Hen and Stag, said: “Hen and Stag are proud advocates of the apprenticeship programme and we're thrilled to accept the award for Small Employer of the Year 2017.” 

The Edge Awards were introduced by Gateshead College to celebrate the best apprenticeship training programmes in the North East. The annual event champions the work being done by employer partners and the college to introduce trainees to rewarding and sustainable careers.

A total of 14 apprentices and former apprentices also picked up awards after being nominated by their employers and assessors for their achievements during their training.

Held at the college’s Baltic Campus, the glitzy award ceremony was catered for by the college’s student-run restaurant Enfields Kitchen, with meals prepared and served catering and hospitality students.

Gateshead College delivers apprenticeship training with more than 400 companies around the region, including large multi-nationals and SMEs. Latest official figures indicate that taking on an apprentice is worthwhile exercise, with apprenticeships providing a typical return of £26-28* for each pound invested by the company.*Figures from the Department for Education

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