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Apprentices aim to be 'bright sparks'

PUBLISHED: 10:30 05 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:20 06 July 2010

FOUR of Suffolk's most inspiring apprentices and dedicated employers have been selected to represent the county at the prestigious East of England Bright Sparks Apprenticeship Awards 2009.

FOUR of Suffolk's most inspiring apprentices and dedicated employers have been selected to represent the county at the prestigious East of England Bright Sparks Apprenticeship Awards 2009.

The awards are held annually by the Learning and Skills Council to celebrate apprentices who have used their apprenticeship to make a significant impact on their career and the future of the business they are training with.

Employers committed to hiring apprentices in order to create an enthusiastic and skilled workforce are also honoured in the awards.

Finalists from Suffolk were announced by the Learning and Skills Council who manage and fund Apprenticeships in England.

They will compete against the best of the rest from around the region at an awards ceremony at the Hilton Hotel in Stansted on Tuesday, June 2, and winners will be presented with their award by BBC sports presenter and former footballer Ray Stubbs.

The finalists from Suffolk are:

*Young Apprentice of the Year category, Harry Turner, 16, of Saxmundham. Harry is currently on an Engineering Young Apprenticeship which has included a work placement at the Port of Felixstowe.

*Advanced Apprentice of the Year category, Alice Ryan, 21, from Ipswich. Alice is on a Trial Higher Apprenticeship ICT Professional with Openreach BT.

*Medium Employer of the Year category, John Michael Hair Design Group based in Ipswich. John Michael offers Hairdressing and Retail and Commercial Enterprise Apprenticeships and has trained 40 apprentices in the last five years.

*Large Employer of the Year category, SLP Engineering based in Lowestoft. SLP offers Engineering and Engineering Construction Apprenticeships and currently employs 25 apprentices.

The number of apprentices training in the East of England continues to rise, with over 180 types of apprenticeships available in more than 80 sectors of industry from engineering and boat building, to veterinary nursing and accountancy.

SLP Engineering stressed the benefits that apprentices can bring to both the company and local industry. Training manager Jackie Galley said: “Apprentices are motivated young people who have the potential to become 'managers of the future'. The advantage to the employer is even more loyalty and enthusiasm in the workplace.”

Jon Nay, Regional Apprenticeship Director for East of England, said: “Apprenticeships are not only an inspiring hands-on career path for learners; they are also pivotal to the economy by providing businesses with the skilled workers they need for the future. These awards are a great opportunity to celebrate the dedication of both employers and apprentices alike. I wish all of the finalists the best of luck for the awards ceremony in June when the names of this year's winners will be revealed.”

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