The cream of the Apprenticeship crop get rewarded

Shrewsbury Colleges Group has held its second Apprenticeship Awards to celebrate the achievements of both apprentices training across a range of sectors and their employers who support their apprentices to ensure their success.

At a three course gala dinner and ceremony held at the College’s training restaurant Origins on Thursday night, nine awards were handed out to apprentices, including the Apprentice of the Year Award, Small Employer of the Year Award and Large Employer of the Year Award.

A panel of judges chose the winners from the nominations put forward by assessors and employers; judging against criteria including commitment, contribution and success within the role.

Rimante Guogyte, a 28-year-old apprentice with The Uplands, Marches Care, scooped the overall prize as the Apprentice of the Year alongside her Care Award.

Principal James Staniforth said: “We chose Rimante because of the outstanding effort she has put into her training and the significant contribution to the success of Marches Care.  Since joining the Upland team with Marches Care, Rimante has gone above and beyond her role, seeking out further opportunities for her own development and to support her employer. Rimante intends to continue her training as an advanced apprentice and she is currently studying in additional hours to develop her English, which is not her first language, typical of her perseverance in the face of challenges.  .”

Jan Downes, Manager of The Uplands care home added: “Rimante is a wonderful person and has come on enormously in recent months. She is always striving to make all of our residents feel respected and settled, when they are often tired and disorientated. She is a quiet and calm person with a lovely sense of humour, who really does bring out the best in all her colleagues.”

Rimante’s Assessor, Hazel Ducker said: “Rimante is one of the keenest learners that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. She grabs knowledge with the utmost enthusiasm and has overcome challenges with English being her second language. The ethos of the Care Home is to provide the highest level of care and Rimante achieves this continuously by developing activities and stimulation for the patients – her relationships with both staff and patients have flourished and she continues to bring new ideas and concepts to her job role.”

Rimante said: “I didn’t expect this at all, it was such a lovely surprise. I can’t thank my assessors and employers enough for nominating me. Marches Care and Shrewsbury Colleges Group have given me so many great opportunities and I can’t wait to keep progressing within my Apprenticeship.”

Eight other apprentices went home with awards on Thursday night: Harriet Maddox, an apprentice with Whittingham Riddell, won the Accounting Award; Luka Freeman, an apprentice with Kingsland Financial Ltd, won the Business Award; Taylor Evans, an apprentice with JD Heating Renewables, won the Plumbing Award; Jackie Morgan, an apprentice with Dorrington Nursery, won the Early Years Award; Lynsey Marchant, an apprentice with Pave Aways, won the Construction Award; Paula Cooper, an apprentice with Lanyon Bowdler, won the Management Award; Robert Jones, an apprentice with NHS West Midland Ambulance Service, won the Motor Vehicle Award and Gary Roberts, an apprentice with Ado Food Group, won the Engineering Award.

Winner of the Large Employer of the Year Award was Wrekin Housing Trust, one of the largest social housing providers in the West Midlands, and winner of the Small Employer of the Year Award was D.R.E & Co Chartered Accountants, an independent firm with six offices across Shropshire and North Wales.

James Staniforth said: “The Wrekin Housing Trust currently has 14 apprentices with us and have made it a mission to give young people the opportunity to develop skills and gain qualifications through Apprenticeships. They have a strong relationship with the College and we have worked together to design training programmes which allow their team to develop new skills in trades like carpentry and plumbing. Wrekin Housing Trust lead by example, giving their apprentices all the help and guidance needed to progress with their diplomas and NVQs.

“Business Support Manager, Les Evans is totally committed to apprentice progression and helped us deliver our brand new Property Maintenance Apprenticeship. He regularly attends the apprentice’s day release, to ensure they are aware of the support available.

“Our small employer of the year, D.R.E & Co, have developed and established a strong relationship with the College. Progression for apprentices is at the forefront of D.R.E & Co’s training ethos - retaining and supporting them through the different Accountancy Levels, rewarding their educational achievements with promotions and opportunities for professional development. Each year they have increased the number of apprentices that they have in each office and continue to build on the College connection.

“They have always promoted the importance of training being as important as the apprentice’s time in the workplace, allowing the apprentice to gain the most from the College experience, which results in high quality outcomes.”

Les Evans, Business Support Manager of Wrekin Housing Trust, said: “The Wrekin Housing Trust launched its apprenticeship programme in 2007 and we have had well over 100 apprentices since then, with many of those first recruits still employed with us. Apprentices are the future of the construction industry.”

James Staniforth added: “It’s heart-warming to hear that students and employers are gaining so much value from their Apprenticeship programme. Training whilst working enables apprentices to get hands on experience and the theoretical knowledge they need to progress in their careers. With employers at the centre of the training programme, apprentices are not only able to fulfil roles which they need to drive their businesses forward, but also to make a valuable difference to the future shaping of their companies. I want to offer my congratulations to every student who has won an award tonight.”

To find out more about our Apprenticeships call 01743 260400 or visit www.scg.ac.uk/employers. To look at other courses at Shrewsbury Colleges Group call 01743 342411, visit www.scg.ac.uk or come to an Advice Event January 17.

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