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Suffolk's finest urged to enter awards

PUBLISHED: 11:10 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:25 05 July 2010

THE Learning and Skills Council is urging Suffolk employers and apprentices to enter this year's prestigious East of England Apprenticeship Awards where the best in the region will compete for coveted titles including Employer of the Year and Apprentice of the Year.

THE Learning and Skills Council is urging Suffolk employers and apprentices to enter this year's prestigious East of England Apprenticeship Awards where the best in the region will compete for coveted titles including Employer of the Year and Apprentice of the Year.

This is the final call for entries, as the closing date is February 27.

The awards are held annually to celebrate apprentices who have made a real difference to their future and to the organisation they work for, and employers who have tackled a skills shortage by employing apprentices to ensure future success.

Those shortlisted will be invited to a glittering ceremony on June 2, at the Hilton Hotel, at Stansted Airport, where the winners will be announced. Regional winners will go forward to be considered for national titles. Local winners from Suffolk will be invited to receive their awards at the Big Skill celebrations later in the same month. The Big Skill, to be held on June 17, will celebrate learners of every kind for their remarkable efforts and achievements.

There are currently 16,385 young people employed as apprentices in the East of England, with 3,405 in Suffolk and this figure is set to grow. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced a further £140m in funding for 35,000 new apprenticeship places; urging businesses to invest in skills, even in the most difficult economic circumstances.

Judith Mobbs, area director of the Learning and Skills Council, Suffolk said: “Apprenticeships are one of the most effective ways we have of closing the nation's skills gap. Businesses benefit from the enthusiasm and fresh ideas that an apprentice can bring and investment in the future can help to secure success in a difficult economic climate. Apprentices benefit enormously too from first class training, mentoring and qualifications. There's a huge advantage in learning the practical, wide ranging skills that employers value highly. Whatever your age, it pays to train or retrain.

“The Apprenticeship Awards are inspirational. It's wonderful to hear from the thousands of businesses and individuals who are benefitting from the scheme every single day. We're looking forward to rewarding their commitment and dedication.”

The LSC is keen for employers and apprentices in Suffolk to enter into the awards to not only celebrate their commitment to learning, but also to lead the way in encouraging others to realise the benefits of apprenticeships.

Employers are eligible to enter one of five categories depending on their company size; micro (one to nine employees), small (10-49 employees), medium (50-249 employees), large (250 to 4,999 employees) and macro (5,000+ employees).

In addition to the employer awards, there are three categories open to apprentices: Apprentice of the Year, Advanced Apprentice of the Year and Young Apprentice of the Year.

To find out more or to enter the awards log on to www.apprenticeships.org.uk/awards

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