Ebsford Environmental has been honoured at the National Apprenticeship Awards with the Unilever Small Employer of the Year during an exclusive ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House.
The Leeds based specialist consultant and contractor, offering bespoke environmental works relating to aquatic restoration and invasive vegetation management, was chosen as the winner in recognition of its commitment to developing young people through apprenticeships.
Ebsford Environmental began their apprentice program in 2011. Now currently employing 29 staff, seven are or have been apprentices in the business – working across many functions including marketing, customer services, administration and environmental conservation.
On accepting the award, Nick Hartley, Managing Director, Ebsford Environmental Ltd, says: “We started offering apprenticeships shortly after we set up the business in 2011 and so far we have a 100% retention rate. Offering apprenticeships has enabled our business to grow rapidly from £50,000 in the first year to £3 million a year turnover.
“It’s not just the business that benefits, as an environmental company we want to show we are committed to the local community and make our workforce sustainable. Through offering structured training we can ensure sustainable growth of the business whilst simultaneously improving youth unemployment in the area.
“We believe apprenticeships are one of the best and most rewarding ways of finding staff; you are changing people’s lives in a way that you don’t get just by giving someone a job. As a business owner you are recruiting young people at a crucial stage in their development, especially in socially deprived areas and using that is a fascinating way to grow the business.”
The ceremony also saw Ebsford Environmental Ltd named in the prestigious Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer list. The list, which is compiled annually by the National Apprenticeship Service, sponsored by Centrica, recognises excellence in businesses that employ apprentices.
Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon said:
“Congratulations to Ebsford Environmental Ltd for your success in this year’s National Apprenticeship Awards, which have showcased so much inspiring talent, dedication and ensures that apprenticeships get the prestige they deserve.
“I am always proud to see how many employers and apprentices get involved in apprenticeships across the country, helping to give a ladder of opportunity to people and deliver quality skills for employers. I hope your involvement encourages others to do the same to ensure social justice for all.”
The National Apprenticeship Awards showcase and recognise the many benefits apprenticeships bring to individuals and businesses and inspire others to follow, enabling them to lead successful lives and drive economic growth in England.
Rachel Masters, HR Director, Unilever UK & Ireland, said
“Congratulations to Ebsford Environmental Ltd in winning the Unilever Small Employer of the Year at this year’s National Apprenticeship Awards. At Unilever, we believe apprenticeships enable businesses to build their talent for the future whilst benefitting the lives