The National Apprenticeship Awards opened for entries at the start of this week (3 February), formally launching the search for the best UK apprentices and apprentice employers. The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), which runs the awards, said that nominations would be accepted until 28 March 2014.
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock highlighted the critical importance of apprenticeships for fostering ambition and helping people build rewarding careers. Apprenticeships also promote competitiveness and drive economic growth. The National Apprenticeship Awards offer apprentices and employers the opportunity to receive their due recognition, not least because of the example they set for other young people and business organisations, Hancock added.
One young person determined to be a worthy role model and help raise the profile of apprenticeships is Chloe Gains. A former IT apprentice at Barclays, Chloe snatched the 2013 title of City & Guilds National Apprenticeship Champion. She pointed out that her apprenticeship had opened amazing career opportunities for her and she was now keen to bring the word to other young people across the country.
Birmingham-based Walter Smith Fine Foods, which was recognised in 2013 as Nuclear Decommissioning Site Licence Companies Medium Employer of the Year, is also full of praise for apprenticeships. Company HR director Paul Cadman said that apprenticeships had delivered numerous benefits to the business. Training young people allows Walter Smith Fine Foods to ensure that its staff have the right skills for the business. Cadman also noted that all shop managers were former company apprentices, which is proof that hard work and ambition pay off even without a university degree.