Judge praises high standard of entries in apprenticeship awards

Zena Wardle (second from left), of headline sponsor Polypipe, with some of her fellow judges.
Zena Wardle (second from left), of headline sponsor Polypipe, with some of her fellow judges.

One of the leading judges in a new awards scheme to celebrate apprenticeships in an area that includes Mansfield and Ashfield has praised the standard of entries.

The countdown is on for the inaugural North Midlands and South Yorkshire Apprenticeship Awards, which are backed by Johnston Press titles, including Chad.

And with only days until the event on Tuesday, May 16, Zena Wardle declared: “I was astounded by the number of entrants and also the high standards and enthusiasm displayed.

“I felt privileged to be part of a judging panel for the first year of the awards. All the apprentices are a credit to themselves, their employers and their families. I commend them all.”

Zena, of the event’s headline sponsor, Polypipe Building Products, of Doncaster, joined several other judges in whittling down the entries and coming up with finalists for the various categories.

These categories range from apprentice of the year for each of the area’s main towns, including Mansfield, to employer of the year for each of the different-sized companies in the region.

The awards are aimed at recognising the value of apprenticeships in the workplace after recent government reforms attached more importance to them.

Apprenticeships are now seen as a legitimate alternative to university, offering training, a wage and realistic job prospects to those at college age and above. They are also increasingly viewed by companies as a way of boosting the skills of existing staff and increasing productivity.

Previously, the rules governing apprenticeships were rigid, meaning employers had little say on the kind of training on offer. But the reforms have allowed providers to be more flexible and to tailor courses to the needs of specific companies and job roles.

The awards ceremony takes place at the Showroom Workstation centre in Sheffield. Here is a list of all the organisations and individuals that have been selected as finalists:

Academy Transformation Trust, Tasha Price, Charlotte Birch and Louise Randall; AMRC Training Centre; A Place To Call Our Own, Deanne Stelling; Ardagh; Arvato UK, Auto Windscreens; Azzure IT; Benchmark Recruit, Cortney O’Neal; Carrs Silver, James Buddle; Chesterfield Royal Hospital, Ellie Varley and Sarah Hazeldine; DBL Logistics, Daisy Ryall; DCAS, Megan Byrne; Doncaster College, Alexandra Yates and Natasha Jackson; Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust, Liam Rylance; Fidler and Pepper Solicitors, Sophie Wise; Forest Williams Legal Ltd, Hayley Ginniver; Foxwood Diesel, Leigh Worsdale; Futures Housing Group, Bryn Henton; GBAC Ltd, Ellie Reynolds; Heathcotes Group; Interserve Learning and Employment, Rebecca Edgecumbe, Jack Bailey, Jordan Kemp, Kairon Flowers and Ross Halley.; JMJ Pottery, Laura Davies; Jones and Co Independent Financial Advice, Lucy Staniforth; Knowhow Contact Centre; Learning Unlimited; Magbroach UK Ltd; Mayborn Group, Daniel Thorpe; Mitchells Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers; Pendragon Training Academy, Conor Redfern; Rotherham United Community Sports Trust, Ashley Davis; Royal Mail; Rykneld Homes Ltd, Olivia Kirk; Sheffield Futures, Jessica Birtles, Thomas Austin, Jo Booth and Lauren Smith; Stephensons; Stopford Associates Ltd, Shaun Newham; The Sheffield College; Topcars of Sheffield, Daniel Roberts; Treste Hire and Sales Ltd; Wabtec, Ryan Judge.