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Bedfordshire Apprentice Wins Advanced Apprentice of the Year Award

Ben Copperwheat centre (winning apprentice)

A Bedfordshire based apprentice has been crowned Advanced Apprentice of the year at the regional Apprenticeship Awards in Leicester.

Ben Copperwheat, a systems engineering apprentice based at Lockheed Martin’s Ampthill site won the prestigious award which recognises young talent through the Apprenticeship programme.

The National Apprenticeship Service awards celebrate the achievements of exceptional apprentices, apprentice employers, and of those individuals who inspire others to reach for success through the apprenticeship route.

Ben left college with exceptional grades but didn’t want to pursue university. His work-based learning has provided him with opportunities to grow both as an individual and professionally in the workplace. Ben admits that he feels there is still a bit of a stereotype associated with apprenticeships; that they are for those less academically able and a second choice for those that don’t get the right grades to go onto university.

Ben now wants to use his apprenticeship success to combat this bias and encourage others to follow his path.

Ben said: “Apprenticeships really are invaluable. The experience you get in the work-place, coupled with the class-based teaching brings a unique learning experience and helps you see things from a different perspective.

“The Early Careers Programme at Lockheed Martin is second to none. It’s provided me with amazing development opportunities that I otherwise may have struggled to get. It really has underpinned my apprenticeship success.

 “Winning the regional awards has filled me with immense pride. It’s not something I could’ve done without the support of my managers, mentors, and colleagues.”

Mark Lawson, Lockheed Martin UK Head of Engineering Facilities & Apprentice Manager at Ampthill, said: “I am really proud of Ben and everything he has achieved so far in his apprenticeship. I’m delighted that his talent and abilities have been formally recognised through the regional apprenticeship awards – It is a well deserved recognition.

“I nominated Ben for the award because of his passion dedication and ability to drive his own career.

“Ben delivers value to every programme, role or task he takes on. He is a highly valued member of the team and I have no doubt that he will continue to excel and progress as he goes through his apprenticeship.”

Ian Pryce CBE, CEO of Bedford College said: “We are really proud of Ben and everything that he’s achieving through his apprenticeship. He is a star apprentice supported by a star employer, and we’re delighted to be working with both Ben and Lockheed Martin.”

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