Newbury College recognised its apprentices and their supporters at an award ceremony held at the College last night. The event, organised during National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), celebrated the achievements, hard work and commitment of both individual apprentices and employers. Guest speaker was UKAEA’s Chief Operating Officer, David Martin, who works at Culham Science Centre in Abingdon and was himself a former apprentice at Harwell in 1979.
Now in its tenth year, NAW is designed to raise awareness of apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider community. According to the GOV.UK website, apprenticeship participation increased to 899,400 in the 2015/16 academic year, up 3.2% on 2014/2015 and the highest number on record. It also states that, on average, apprenticeships boost productivity to businesses by £214 per week.*
Dr Anne Murdoch, Principal and Chief Executive of Newbury College, said: “Our annual awards ceremony offers our apprentices, their employers, families and friends the opportunity to celebrate their outstanding achievements. We are grateful to everyone who gave us their support on the night. Apprenticeships are a key focus for us here at Newbury College, and we work alongside many local businesses, including AWE, Hitachi Capital, Williams and Xtrac, who all run very successful apprenticeship programmes.”
“It was a real pleasure being guest of honour at the Newbury College Awards Ceremony,” said David Martin. “As an ex-apprentice myself and working for UKAEA, an employer whose business relies heavily on highly skilled individuals, I understand the importance of apprenticeships in supplying work ready, suitably skilled and motivated technicians and engineers. UKAEA relearned the importance of apprenticeships just in time, having stopped apprentice training in 1994 and restarted in 2005, we see the decade gap in our skills base moving through the business, ‘the lost generation’ as we call it.
“I am now a director of UKAEA, not bad for an instrument maker whose performance was recorded as ‘very good’ on his apprenticeship indentures, indentures which are the only certificate of achievement I display in my office. The practical and problem solving skills that I learned during my apprenticeship served me well in my years in the workshops. After earning my degree, those skills made me an engineer who had ‘gut feel and intuition’ and in my current role as Chief Operating Officer (40 years later), I have credibility because of my technical background and understanding.
“I encourage all the apprentices with Newbury College to build on the solid platform their apprenticeship has provided and to continue to learn at any opportunity. You never know where it might take you!”
The winners on the night were:
Best apprentice in a small business – Hannah Benson, The Tally Ho
Best apprentice in a medium business – Peter Johnston, Snell Advanced Media
Best apprentice in a large business – Abigail Crawforth, Williams
Best engineering apprentice award – George Patey, Williams
Best assessor award – Yvonne Pomeroy, Newbury College
Best workplace mentor – Paula Woof, The Tally Ho
Outstanding contribution award – Isabel Edwards, Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions
To help raise the profile of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in the local area, Newbury College has also announced details of a new engineering degree apprenticeship. From September 2017, engineering apprentices can progress all the way from a Level 2 apprenticeship up to a Level 6 degree apprenticeship. The new programme, in partnership with Buckinghamshire New University, is offered in three different pathways: manufacturing, mechanical or electrical/electronic and is ideal for those who are deterred from studying a traditional full-time programme by high tuition fees and student debt.
During term time, Newbury College holds monthly Apprenticeship Information Sessions, where candidates can find out more about the apprenticeship vacancies on offer. For more information and to register for an event, please visit: https://www.newbury-college.ac.uk/news.html.
For organisations looking to take on an apprentice, Newbury College also holds regular Business Breakfasts designed to equip businesses with the all the information they need. To find out more or to register for an event, visit: https://www.newbury-college.ac.uk/businesses
* Figures taken from NAW2017 toolkit for schools colleges and training providers. Click here for more key facts.