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National Apprenticeship Awards 2020 national winners unveiled

Cheering colleagues, someone wearing a windows jumper

National @Apprenticeship Awards 2020 (#AppAwards2020) national winners unveiled 

Over 1100 applications received from across England;

28 employer, apprentice and individual national winners and highly commended announced;

Winners from 24 English towns and cities 

The best of England’s apprentice employers, apprentices, rising stars and individuals who champion apprenticeships have been announced during the 17th annual National Apprenticeship Awards. 

Apprentices, at all levels and from sectors including construction, engineering and business, alongside employers from the health, leisure and ICT sectors were announced as winners during the online broadcast, today 25 November 2020. Ten winners and 18 highly commended finalists were recognised from across all nine English regions. 

The National Apprenticeship Awards shine the spotlight on business and individual success in apprenticeships, particularly poignant, given the many challenges employers and apprentices have faced this year during the pandemic. The national ceremony showcased examples of where apprentices have gone above and beyond in their apprenticeship to make a real difference. 

Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson said:

“Huge congratulations to all of the winners. It’s fantastic to see so many excellent examples of employers of all sizes continuing to embrace the benefits apprenticeships have to offer, and all the apprentices who have gone above and beyond. 

“The National Apprenticeships Awards are a brilliant opportunity to showcase the power of apprenticeships to transform lives and businesses while helping people of all ages and backgrounds to get ahead. 

“Apprenticeships will continue to play a vital role helping us to build back better from coronavirus. I wish all the winners all the best for the future.” 

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said:

“With such strong competition in businesses right across the country, the winners of this year’s National Apprenticeship Awards should hold their heads up high. 

“There’s a reason why so many apprentices stay in a job or do further training afterwards – it’s because apprenticeships work. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to make sure people can continue learning while expanding their job prospects – much like today’s winners – and why this week we announced cash incentives to hire apprentices, meaning businesses can benefit from their talents. 

“Each and every apprentice is vital to the national effort to recover from the pandemic and build back better.” 

Apprenticeships are a cornerstone of the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs to help the UK’s recovery from the pandemic. Through the Plan for Jobs a total of £1.6 billion will be invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job.

This includes:

  • The Incentive Payment for Hiring a New Apprentice, where businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for each apprentice aged 25 and over.
  • A £111 million investment to triple the scale of traineeships in 2020-21 ensuring more young people have access to high quality training. 

The National Apprenticeship Awards 2020 winners and two highly commended in each category are:

Employer categories:

The BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, Award for SME Employer of the Year


Troup Bywaters + Anders

Highly Commended

Snow-Camp Charity & Crimson Limited

The British Army Award for Large Employer of the Year


WEC Group Ltd

Highly Commended

MTR Elizabeth Line & Home Group Ltd

The QA Award for Macro Employer of the Year


BAE Systems plc

Highly Commended

Royal Air Force & United Utilities

The Accenture Award for Recruitment Excellence


County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service

Highly Commended

Mitchells & Butlers & MTR Elizabeth Line


Individual categories winners and highly commended:

The AstraZeneca Award for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year


Maisey Hammond

Stroud District Council

Highly Commended

Aron Marshall


Joshua Foord



Sunbelt Rentals

The BT Award for Advanced Apprentice of the Year


Chris Jones

J.C. Bamford Excavators Limited

Highly Commended

Scott Murton



Emma Sisman

Ministry of Defence – Submarine Delivery Agency



The Royal Navy Award for Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year


Laurie Weatherall


Highly Commended

Harriet Willsher


Manoj Vadher



Royal Mail

The Lloyds Banking Group Award for Rising Star of the Year


Howard Jackson


Highly Commended

Nihal Dhillon



Jordan Brosnan


J C Bamford Excavators Limited


Coca-Cola European Partners

The Royal Air Force Award for Apprentice Champion of the Year


Jenny Taylor


Highly Commended

Paula McMahon


Alison Galvin

Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd



The National Apprenticeship Awards 2020 also recognised apprentices and their employers as they continued through the challenge of COVID 19; showcasing the most inspiring stories from across the country.

Employer submitted stories were accepted as entries for this years’ Special Recognition Award, in association with The Armed Forces (Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force) – with the winner announced as Great Ormond Street Hospital apprentice healthcare support worker Amber James, who worked on the frontline in the Nightingale Hospital in Excel London as a clinical support worker. Amber worked on the frontline during the height of the pandemic; committing to and learning during a new and challenging nursing experience. Amber is now due to start her degree apprenticeship in registered nursing. 

Peter Mucklow, Director, Apprenticeships, Education and Skills Funding Agency said:

“We are delighted to reveal the National Apprenticeship Awards 2020 winners today, recognising the employers, apprentices and champions of apprenticeships, as well as the rising stars of our future workforce. Amber is a wonderful example of how apprentices have contributed during the pandemic and she thoroughly deserves her special recognition award. 

“The number and quality of entries this year was outstanding, demonstrating the importance of apprenticeships for employers and individuals alike. I thank all entrants for taking time to share their apprenticeship journey, whilst congratulating those who have won, or were highly commended.

 “The support from our ambassadors and sponsors has been magnificent. In such difficult times their commitment means we could still celebrate the very best apprentices and apprenticeships in 2020.” 

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service was crowned The Accenture Award winner for Recruitment Excellence. 

Katherine Metcalfe, Head of People and Organisational Development from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have been recognised through the National Apprenticeship Awards for our commitment to apprenticeships across our organisation.  We are proud we can offer excellent training and development opportunities for our current workforce and those joining our Service through accredited programmes.  

“We firmly believe in growing and nurturing our own talent and apprenticeships offer us an alternative route for our staff to learn on the job and gain meaningful qualifications. Being the first Fire and Rescue Service in the country to offer Firefighter apprenticeships and to see our programme be successful make us feel extremely proud.  As we embark onto our 4th cohort our commitment to our apprenticeship programme couldn’t be higher.”  

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