Outstanding apprentice Tom Turner of Panalpina World Transport has won the Apprentice of the Year award at the prestigious British International Freight Association (BIFA) awards.

The award was sponsored by Outsource Training and Development, which has more than 20 years’ experience in supporting businesses with their apprenticeship programmes.

Outsource Director Nichola Hay praised Manchester-based Tom, now promoted to Team Leader, for his inspirational qualities, commitment to personal development and significant contribution to Panalpina.

This included overseeing the introduction of new customs software in the Manchester office, ensuring that all staff were trained and testing was undertaken prior to implementation.

Marking their 30th anniversary, BIFA’s Freight Service Awards were presented by sporting legend Colonel Dame Kelly Holmes at a glittering ceremony in London on 17 January (Tom is pictured with Colonel Dame Kelly Holmes and Nichola Hay). The event was attended by 500 sponsors, industry representatives and invited guests. Eleven keenly-contested awards included Apprentice of the Year for the first time.

Five finalists were shortlisted for the award, who underwent face-to-face or telephone interviews with the judging panel.

Tom was praised by judges Emma Bates, Learning and Development Manager, IAG Cargo and Sharon Greer, General Manager, Agency Sector Management (UK) Limited, for his drive and ambition for the future.

Chris Cooper, Panalpina’s Managing Director for the UK & Ireland, said: “We are really proud of all our apprentices and especially Tom, who is such a keen learner – he definitely has a bright future with us.”

Tom, 24, from Wigan, was recruited by Outsource and progressed from a Level 2 to completing a Level 4 apprenticeship. He said: “I really like working in logistics. I was initially unsure about an apprenticeship but I needed to get work experience.

“It’s hard work but I wanted to have the opportunity to get a good job. I genuinely believe it has helped me as I have been able to apply the business management theory I’ve learned to my job and bring about positive changes.

“I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who is ambitious and willing to give it everything – it has been a struggle as I have been doing a full week’s work plus my course work. But I see it as an investment by myself and my employer which is already reaping rewards for my future.”

Outsource Director Nichola Hay said: “Tom is a fantastic example of the difference apprentices can make to a business. Apprentices have never been more important in the logistics and freight forwarding sector for businesses looking to fill skills gaps and ensure development of their talent pipeline.


“The Apprenticeship Levy and funding reforms mean apprenticeships offer real workforce planning and people development solutions to large and small to medium businesses.

Robert Keen, BIFA Director General, said: “The BIFA Freight Service awards are all about rewarding excellence. All the companies that entered this year’s awards could have no finer example to follow than someone who struck Olympic gold twice in Athens in 2004.

“A BIFA Freight Service award, like an Olympic gold, is the ultimate reward for endeavour and professionalism and demonstrates high standards, determination and professionalism.”

The finalists in the Apprentice of the Year category were:

  • Paige Baldwin of TPS Global
  • Kyle Lawrence of Unsworth
  • Tom Turner of Panalpina
  • Harry Underwood of Dachser
  • Jay Williams of Kuehne + Nagel.


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