From education to employment

Inspiring Business and Apprenticeship Awards Ceremony hosted at Sunderland College

Education Partnership North East (EPNE) held an inspiring event to celebrate the achievements of the region’s apprentices as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2024.

Held at Sunderland College’s City Campus and hosted by EPNE Chief Executive Ellen Thinnesen, the Business and Apprenticeship Awards was attended by senior leaders from across the North East and beyond.

The evening saw seven apprentices receive ‘Apprentice of the Year’ awards from Manufacturing Director of Decorative Paints and AkzoNobel Jeff Hope – who also gave a motivational and memorable speech to close the ceremony – for their outstanding dedication and commitment to the employers they work for.

The winners were Caitlyn Harper (South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust), Chloe Nichols (Gentoo), Jonathan Gill (South Tyneside Council), Sol Miller (Snapback Joinery), Beth Parodi (ZF Automotive), Nathan Willis (Sunderland City Council) and Molly Burnside (MPF Horse Talent). The apprentices were presented with certificates and a £100 voucher each.

Guests also enjoyed a three-course meal in the critically acclaimed City Bistro restaurant, prepared and served by the college’s professional cookery and hospitality students.

Ellen Thinnesen, Chief Executive of Education Partnership North East, said:

“Having a long history of delivering apprenticeships, we see the real impact that comes when a college and business invests time together in workforce planning, because when this happens, there is no doubt an apprenticeship strategy accelerates a marked impact on productivity and business performance.

She added: “Hearing why apprentices had won their awards was really moving and it was clear the ceremony and individual recognition meant so much to not only the apprentice and employer, but to parents and family members too.

“It was great to see so many employers attend from right across the region in a range of sectors and industries. It’s a real reflection of our reach and impact.”

Sunderland College is one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region and is committed to partnering with employers to deliver material impact for business and the apprentice. 

Several leading North East employers such as Sunderland City Council, South Tyneside Council, Gentoo and South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, ZF and Nissan among others, were in attendance to congratulate the award winners.

As well as celebrating the success of so many apprentices, the UK’s largest electrical car battery producer AESC and Sunderland-based bricklaying contractor King Brothers received Employer Recognition Awards to acknowledge the support of EPNE’s employer partners and their dedication to skills. 

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