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‘Rising Star’ among new award categories as National Apprenticeship Awards 2018 open for entries

The fifteenth National Apprenticeship Awards, led by the National Apprenticeship Service, is now open for entries. The Awards, with new categories for 2018, reflect the quality of apprenticeships on offer across all sectors, recognising apprenticeships as a fast-track to a great career and business growth.

Reflecting the development of the apprenticeships landscape and following consultation with a number of leading organisations in the field several changes to the Awards have been made. The refreshed 2018 awards will showcase employer excellence in widening access to, and championing, apprenticeships as well as celebrating how apprenticeships offer a career path to the top for individuals. 

New categories include the Recruitment Excellence Award, recognising employers who have attracted a diverse and high-quality apprenticeship workforce through new and innovative approaches to recruitment. In addition, the National Apprenticeship Service will identify one individual winner to receive a Recognition Award, to reward someone who has made a special contribution to the promotion and delivery of apprenticeships.

For the first time, a Rising Star category will showcase apprentices who have made impressive progress in their career to date and who show the potential, through their apprenticeship, to take a career path to the very top of their chosen profession. Nominated by their employers, at the national stage of the awards the public will be invited to vote on the overall winner for this category.   

Apprentice employers and apprentices from all industries are invited to enter the awards. Judged by a team of experts, entrants have the opportunity to be crowned a regional winner at nine awards ceremonies set to take place across the country. From the regional champions, a national judging panel will select the overall National Apprenticeship Award winners, to be celebrated at a national ceremony on 28 November 2018. 

The Awards are the largest and most prestigious celebration of apprentices and apprentice employers across the country. Previous winners have experienced a diverse range of benefits following their success. Here, two award winners from last year share the benefits that their victory has had for them so far. The deadline for entries is the 25 May 2018.

Charlotte Hughes, GSK employee and winner of the Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year 2017, said:

“I am extremely proud to have been a winner at the National Apprenticeship Awards. It’s provided a huge boost to my confidence and has helped raise my profile within and outside my organisation. Everyone is really proud of my achievement and many opportunities have opened up due to winning. The whole process has made me realise what I’m truly capable of. I would encourage anyone that is eligible to apply.”

Tim Brown, managing director of Superior, a Dorset-based manufacturing firm, crowned medium Employer of the Year 2017, said:

“The whole experience of entering the awards, winning at regional stage and then being crowned a winner at the National Apprenticeship Awards has been unforgettable. It has motivated us to do more and continue raising the profile of apprenticeships.

“Everyone at Superior is incredibly proud of this fantastic achievement, it has helped us gain positive recognition as an employer that is committed to offering quality apprenticeships and careers to people of all ages and backgrounds – it has also helped us attract the best talent. If you’re thinking of applying for the National Apprenticeship Awards, you should absolutely do it – getting that gold award is unbeatable.”

Apprentice employers and apprentices are invited to enter the award categories:

Employer of the Year categories:

  1. SME of the Year: 1 – 249 employees
  2. Large Employer of the Year: 250 – 4,999 employees
  3. Macro Employer of the Year: 5,000+ employees  
  4. The Recruitment Excellence Award: new for 2018, the winner will be selected from the Employer of the Year award entries                         

Apprentice of the Year categories:

  1. Intermediate Level (level 2)    
  2. Advanced Level (level 3)
  3. Higher or Degree Level (level 4 or higher)

Special recognition categories:

  1. Rising Star Award:  new for 2018, recognises apprentices that have made impressive progress in their career to date, and have the potential to go even further
  2. Recognition Award: new for 2018, awarded to an individual who has made a special contribution to the promotion and delivery of apprenticeships – to be selected by the National Apprenticeship Service
  3. Apprenticeship Champion of the Year: recognises individuals who go ‘above and beyond’ to champion apprenticeships

Applying is easier than ever before. Start your awards entry today, the application site is now open, entry to the awards is free and online at To help with entries, guidance documents for employers and apprentices are available to download.

The deadline for entries is the 25 May 2018.

About The National Apprenticeship Service: The National Apprenticeship Service supports the delivery of apprenticeships in England. It offers free impartial advice and support to employers looking to recruit for the first time or expand their apprenticeship programmes. This includes simplifying the process of recruiting an apprentice through the support of employer focused teams. Through the Find an apprenticeship site on GOV.UK employers can advertise their vacancies and potential apprentices can apply. Call 0800 015 0600 or search for apprenticeships on GOV.UK to find out more.

The National Apprenticeship Awards: Now in their fifteenth year, the National Apprenticeship Awards are an opportunity to highlight the many success stories and the benefits of apprenticeships.

There are three Employer of the Year categories (SME, Large, Macro) and a Recruitment Excellence Award open to apprentice employers from all sectors.

Recognising indivual sucesses, there are three Apprentice of the Year categories (Intermediate, Advanced, Higher/Degree level) as well as a Rising Star, Recognition Award, and Apprenticeship Champion of the Year award.

This year the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer list 2018 will be announced seprately to the National Apprenticeship Awards, details will follow later in the year. For a full list of winners from 2017 visit:

There are new categories for the National Apprenticeship Awards 2018: Rising Star, Recognition Award, and the Recruitment Excellence Award. For each cateogry there will be one winner and one high commended award. 

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