From education to employment

Finalists shine for LSC as awards received

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is proud to report its recent crop of award-winning apprentices who received top honours at the 2006 Apprenticeship Awards.

As millions of teenagers discover their GCSE results today, FE News showcases the cream of this years finalists.

Apprentice of the Year went to 22 year old Sarah Herrick (pictured), who began washing pots at The Crown Inn, Leicester. “Sarah arrived at The Crown answering an advertisement for a pot washer”, explains owner Ian Taylor. “After working with Sarah for no more than three hours it was quite obvious there was a star in our midst”.

During the course of her apprenticeship, Sarah has picked up several qualifications including Food Hygiene, Health and Safety and key skills numeracy.

“My Apprenticeship has had a huge impact on my career and I feel that it is brilliantly beneficial,” says Sarah, 22. “It has boosted my confidence in myself and my capabilities have no boundaries. I have made my family hugely proud of me and it gives me great satisfaction to talk to our customers about what I am doing”.

And her “burning ambition”, as she explains, makes her want to “move on to the Advanced Apprenticeship level and continue making her employer proud”. Something that has already been achieved, as Mr Taylor explains: “[Sarah is the] most rounded, committed individual I have ever had the pleasure to work alongside”.

Advanced Apprentice of the Year was awarded to John Vickery, 24, of Bristol. He readily admitted that he lacked direction; a direction that was soon provided by his apprenticeship, as he notes: “I”m so happy that now I”m an engineer I can start giving back to the programme”.

He started work as telecommunications apprentice at Orange Holdings Ltd in 2002, rising rapidly through the ranks and completing his Advanced Apprenticeship in record time. Now working with the Technical Development team at Orange, he commented: “I have been involved in reviewing and updating the training plan within a team of experienced and skilled engineers. I hope to continue working with the Technical Development team and giving my ideas to help new apprentices enjoy their life-changing experience as much as I did”.

His colleagues at Orange were similarly glowing in their reference, stating that John is “living proof of not only how an Apprenticeship can benefit a business but also how it can turn around a person’s life”.

Personal Achiever of the Year in the 19-24 age group was received by Lucy Wilkins. 24 years old, Lucy was unfortunately diagnosed with Ushers Syndrome three years ago, and has to cope with deafness and a degenerative eye disease. But her capability was never in any doubt: “I have not let my disability impede my enthusiasm for learning and working and as a result I have fast-tracked my Apprenticeship and Advanced Apprenticeship”.

Not content with her numerous other achievements, which include working as an assistant in the Council’s Frameworks team and taking on the role of Disability Representative, she won a place last year on Somerset County Council’s apprenticeship programme. Now Personal Achiever of the Year, she notes: “Being honest about my disability and discussing it with others has enabled me to gain respect and understanding from my colleagues, which makes the working environment more comfortable and pleasant”.

Congratulations from FE News to all finalists!

Vijay Pattni.

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