The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) launched the 2011 Apprenticeship Awards yesterday to recognise the achievements of apprentices and their employers across England.
The Awards ceremony will be held in London on 29 June and will cover eight categories.
John Hayes, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, said: “I have put Apprenticeships at the heart of our skills strategy because they encourage ambition and enterprise, and help drive economic and social progress.
“These awards offer a great platform for young people and employers to gain recognition not just for excelling in their chosen field, but for playing a leading part in that vital process.”
Apprentices will be recognised in four categories. Those nominated will compete to be named Young Apprentice of the Year, Apprentice of the Year, Advanced Apprentice of the Year and Higher Apprentice of the Year.
Holly Manley, a retail management apprentice, was crowned National Apprentice of Year at last year’s ceremony, and has since been promoted from supervisor to store manager at Superdrug.
“Winning the ‘National Apprentice of the Year 2010’ was absolutely amazing and has opened up a lot of doors for me,” said Ms Manley.
“It’s amazing to be selected from all the apprentices nationwide – and such a boost to know that all your hard work is being recognised.”
Employers will also be heralded alongside apprentices in four categories: Small Employer of the Year (1-24 employees), Medium Employer of the Year (25-249), Large Employer of the Year (250–4,999) and Macro Employer of the Year (5000+).
As well as the category winner, the best 24 employers in each category will be published in the Top 100 Apprenticeship employers list by the NAS, in partnership with City & Guilds.
NAS chief executive Simon Waugh said: “The Apprenticeship Awards recognize the achievements of individuals engaged in training and the organisations that invest in them.
“Apprentices provide a real boost to Britain’s economy, helping businesses secure a supply of people with the skills and qualities often not available on the external job market. They bring fresh ideas and innovation to organisations and help to increase staff retention.”
The Apprenticeship Awards launch comes just a few weeks before Apprenticeship Week.
The national celebration, which will take place 7-11 February, aims to highlight the talents and skills of apprentices, and celebrate the importance of Apprenticeships to the economy.