Businesses and apprentices themselves were celebrated for their commitment to the employment route at the recent Newcastle College Apprenticeship Awards. The successes of the past twelve months were reflected upon by the attendees, showing the progress in the initiative and how it’s helping to close the skills gap in the region. In the latest Newcastle College Ofsted report, the institution was commended for their focus on apprenticeships and the investments surrounding them. Together with the college, we take a look at the ceremony and its winners.
At the ceremony, Director of Business Partnerships at Newcastle College Marc McPake said “The Apprenticeship Awards are a highlight in Newcastle College’s diary and a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the hard work and success of our apprentices and our employer partners.
“Apprenticeships are vital to the future of skills and employment within the region and to supporting the North East local Enterprise Partnerships aim to create better jobs, by helping more people into skilled careers and more businesses find the right people for their workforce.
“This event really helps us to highlight just how important apprenticeships are and shine a light on the powerful differences they can make to both individuals and companies here in our region.”
The event championed the achievements of businesses who rely on apprenticeships to funnel new talent into their workforces, as well as the apprentices themselves, with a total of nine awards being presented in both categories.
A business admin apprentice, Jean Tams, was presented with the Personal Achievement accolade for her personal and professional progress. She began her apprenticeship at the age of just 16, only 18 months prior, and she has become an integral part of the team. She is employed by Forward Assist, who nominated her for the award. Her work varies within the charity, which provides help to former service men and women.
“Jean has grown massively in confidence and is now an irreplaceable member of the team’’ they stated.
After picking up her award, Jean stated “When I was told I had been shortlisted for an Apprenticeship Award, I was shocked and humbled, but also delighted! It is an honour to win a Personal Achievement Award.
“The opportunities and experience I’ve been given during my apprenticeship aren’t something you come across every day. I’ve been to the Houses of Parliament, to France to help at the charity’s annual Veterans Retreat and I’m looking forward to going to America later this year with the Women Veterans Team.
“I don’t know who is happier – me, the team at Forward Assist, or my mam who is so proud of me. I feel so privileged to be where I am today, and I wouldn’t have done it without the support of my colleagues and my skills trainer from Newcastle College.”
The sponsor of the event was Northumbrian Water, recognised for its commitment to apprenticeships at last year’s awards with the Employer of the Year title. The company’s Group HR Director Sarah Salter said “We were delighted to sponsor Newcastle College’s Apprenticeship Awards this year.
“We know first-hand how valuable apprenticeships are for our people at Northumbrian Water, developing our teams as well as our business. Apprenticeships create opportunities to learn, grow and achieve for all involved and it’s fantastic to be supporting the recognition of the achievements of all the apprentices at this event.”
Port Training Services were one of the many apprenticeship employers from the North East present, supporting the itinerary with sponsorship and judging panel members.
The awards coincided with Newcastle College’s National Apprenticeships Week celebrations, which is celebrated by colleges across the UK in a bid to encourage more students to take the apprenticeship route into employment, and for business owners to increase their own uptake of apprentices. The apprenticeship reform in 2017 included the Apprenticeship Levy for larger businesses and the development of degree level apprenticeships, which is being emphasized by Newcastle College.
Marc McPake went on to say “Apprenticeships continue to be at the forefront of Newcastle College’s offer for both learners and employers.
“We believe that they are a positive career choice for people of any age or skill level and a sensible investment for businesses which are looking to grow and develop through a skilled workforce.
“Our apprenticeship programme is designed to meet the skills gaps and needs of employers within the North East while creating work-ready individuals with the right skills and experience to forge a successful career.
“This awards evening has shown how successful and valuable apprenticeships are in helping us to do this. It’s also given us an opportunity to highlight the hard work apprentices do and say thank you to our employer partners who have made the choice to invest in apprenticeships to help grow their business.”
If you are considering an apprenticeship, contact Newcastle College for more information and begin your own journey into employment.