From education to employment

Fifth annual awards launched to recognise nations top apprentices

The search is on for the nation’s top apprentices as the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) launches its fifth annual Apprenticeship Awards this week at a time when large numbers of people are using Apprenticeships as a way of getting their dream career.

Celebrities such as Alan Shearer, Eric Clapton and Stella McCartney and some of the UK’s most successful business moguls such as John Caudwell and Laurence Graff started out as apprentices. The success achieved by these and other favourite role models is a real inspiration. No wonder so many people are looking at Apprenticeships as the route to future success ““ 180,111 people have started this year alone.

Now in their fifth year, the 2008 Apprenticeship Awards were launched this week and attended by Skills Minister, David Lammy, at the Imagination Gallery in London. The Awards recognise the top apprentices trained by 130,000 organisations in England that employ them, with the winners set to be announced on 10th July 2008 at the Royal Horticultural Halls in central London.

Established Apprenticeships still dominate the most popular options with construction, engineering and business administration all in the top five. However, the amazing variety of Apprenticeships available today can be seen with some more unusual apprentices out there such as farriers, steeplejacks and sea fishing.

Speaking at the launch event, Chris Banks, Chair of the LSC commented: “With nearly a quarter of a million apprentices in England alone, across 80 different sectors of industry, the popularity of Apprenticeships as the route to a successful career continues to grow.

The Apprenticeship Awards are our opportunity to applaud apprentices who are taking their future in their hands and employers who are taking control of the future of their business by investing in skills of their workforce.”

Also speaking at the launch event was 2004 finalist Hannah Worsley, who described how her Apprenticeship has opened doors, both in terms of her career progression and her individual growth. Having started her Management Apprenticeship at Debenhams, Hannah not only excelled in her job but came full circle when she qualified as an NVQ assessor, for the provider who trained her. Aged just 23, Hannah became responsible for more than 30 new trainees; encouraging and inspiring new apprentices through her own experiences.

Five years after completing her Advanced Apprenticeship, Hannah is the Training Manager for KidsUnlimited, a childcare company with 51 sites across the UK. Hannah said: “My Apprenticeship really helped me reach my current role and I am so grateful to all those that helped me get here.”

Apprentices can enter one of four categories: Apprentice of the Year, Advanced Apprentice of the Year, Young Apprentice of the Year and Personal Achiever of the Year.

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