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Awards for employers and apprentices

PUBLISHED: 09:20 05 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:56 06 July 2010

THE bright and the best of the region's apprentices and their employers were celebrated at a special awards event.

Bright Sparks 09, organised by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) was aimed at apprentices who have made a real difference to their future and to the organisation they work for.

THE bright and the best of the region's apprentices and their employers were celebrated at a special awards event.

Bright Sparks 09, organised by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) was aimed at apprentices who have made a real difference to their future and to the organisation they work for. Employers committed to hiring apprentices were also honoured at the awards event.

BBC sports presenter and former professional footballer Ray Stubbs and Caroline Neville, regional director for the LSC East of England, announced the winners along with highly commended entrants at a prestigious awards event held at the Hilton at the Stansted Airport.

Advanced Apprentice of the Year was BT apprentice Alice Ryan, from Ipswich, who has become an ambassador for all apprentices by promoting them at national level. She will soon be in the role of acting manager for an engineering team.

She described the award as “an honour”. “If the work I've done inspires even young person to go on to an apprenticeship it's well worth it. I always try to promote apprenticeships as a great alternative to going to university. Mine has given me experience and helped me build a great reputation in my company,” she said.

Also among those honoured were Harry Turner of Saxmundham, who scooped a highly commended accolade in the Young Apprentice of the Year category.

Having always wanted to be an engineer Harry jumped at the opportunity to take part in his school's pilot group of Young Apprenticeships and was one of eight students who were linked with the Port of Felixstowe on a modular programme to support their progress.

Rob Brown, trainer and assessor at the Port of Felixstowe, said Harry had stood out from the rest of the group in all aspects.

Harry said: “I am delighted that I was able to reach the final of these awards and to be highly commended in recognition of my achievements.”

John Michael Hair Design Group, in Ipswich, scooped the Medium Employer of the Year award.

It employs 21 apprentices, having trained a further 40 apprentices over the last five years.

Director Michael Hallam, said apprenticeships were a way of feeding the company with extra knowledge, answers to challenges and innovative ideas.

All John Michael Hair Design apprentices are given the opportunity to work in a successful commercial salon which offers both male and female hairdressing services. As a result the apprentices learn varied hairdressing services outside of the normal framework.

Mr Hallam said they were “elated” to have won. “It is a fantastic achievement for all our apprentices. We have been lucky enough to win this award before, and this year's honour goes to all our new apprentices as they have not shared in this success before, and without them we would not have won again,” he said.

SLP Engineering in Lowestoft, which provides construction and engineering-based apprenticeships, was highly commended in the Large Employer of the Year category.

The company started employing apprentices in 1989 and since then over 50 apprentices have successfully completed their training and achieved recognised trade qualifications.

Karen Taylor, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Lowestoft College, praised SLP's ongoing commitment to their apprentices' continuous improvement and training by supporting and funding extra curriculum training and participation in national competitions.

On receiving the award Chris Gibson and Jackie Galley from the HR team at SLP Engineering said: “We are thrilled to bits to have reached the final of these awards and to have been highly commended. Although we are disappointed not to have won, this has only encouraged us to go all out next year and to go that one step further.”

Jon Nay, regional apprenticeship director, National Apprenticeship Service - East of England said: “All the finalists at this year's awards were truly inspiring and some extremely worthy winners were chosen. The awards are a great opportunity to celebrate apprenticeships and the value they bring to employers and apprentices alike.”

The winners from the East of England will automatically go forward to the national judging process. National winners will be announced on July 16.

The regional results were:

Young Apprentice of the Year: Winner: Brittany Barber, from King's Lynn, Norfolk; Highly Commended: Harry Turner, Saxmundham, Suffolk; Kelly Cheung, King's Lynn.

Apprentice of the Year: Winner: Craig Welford, Great Yarmouth; Highly Commended: Tom Parkhurst, Bury St. Edmunds, Kerry Rowley, Luton.

Advanced Apprentice of the Year: Winner: Alice Ryan, Ipswich; Highly Commended: Will Osborne, Peterborough; Charlee Peters, Stevenage, Hertfordshire; Martin Dack, Fakenham, Norfolk.

Micro Employer of the Year (1-9 employees): Winner: The Wish Hair Ltd, King's Lynn; Highly Commended: Commercial Utility Brokers (UK) Ltd, March, Cambridgeshire.

Small Employer of the Year (10-49 employees): Winner: Cundy Anglia Ltd, Cambridge; Highly Commended: Gaswise Services Ltd, King's Lynn; Allied Construction, Rayleigh, Essex.

Medium Employer of the Year (50-249 employees): Winner: John Michael Hair Design Group, Ipswich.

Large Employer of the Year (250-4,999 employees): Winner: Swift Horsman Group, Ware, Hertfordshire; Highly Commended: Premier Foods, Thetford; SLP Engineering, Lowestoft.

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