North-West businesses and their staff received special recognition for their apprenticeship programmes at our annual celebration event earlier this month.
The event was a great opportunity to congratulate all those who successfully completed qualifications with Damar over the last 12 months as well as to thank their employers, managers and the team from Damar who worked together to make it all happen!
This year's winners of our annual awards were as follows...
- 2011 Employer of the Year. Winner: Churchwood Finance Group.
- 2011 Supervisor of the Year. Winner: Judith Stiles, Stockport Truck Centre. Runner up: Sarah Cox, Horizon Finance.
- 2011 Learner of the Year. Winner: Vicky Norbury, St Paul's CE Primary School, Withington. Runner up: Thomas Bonnie, Chance Hunter Solicitors LLP.
- The Mark Aspinall Award for special achievement. Winner: Linda Whitworth, NHS Salford. Runner up, Josh Van Cook.
Thanks to Stockport Council’s 14-19 team who supported the event and to Alison Cresswell, Lead Officer for Apprenticeships and Head of 14-19 Services at Stockport Council who kindly presented the awards.
Pictured below with their awards are (back row, left to right): Stacey Cowey (on behalf of Sarah Cox), Thomas Bonnie, Vicky Norbury, Linda Whitworth, Salli White (Churchwood), Judith Stiles.
Churchwood Finance Group Chief Executive Paul Naden said: “We are delighted to have received the "2011 Employer of the Year" award. It is truly excellent news and really recognizes the efforts of our learning and development team, our talented and engaged workforce and their commitment to self development. I am very proud of them all.
"Over three quarters of the apprentices we have taken on through Damar are still employed in the business which is excellent, particularly given the economic uncertainty of the past three years. Investing in our people is at the heart of our strategy and our commitment to supporting our staff through apprenticeships with Damar forms part of this."
Four other organisations were shortlisted in the category: Revive Dental Care, NHS Salford, Expotel Hotel Reservations and The Christie Foundation NHS Trust.
Judith Stiles, who has worked at Stockport Truck Centre for 10 years, received her "2011 Supervisor of the Year" award after being praised for her dedication to supporting apprentices at the company during their training and ultimately helping them achieve their qualifications.
Judith has been working with apprentices through Damar for two years, offering help and support as they study for qualifications in Business Administration and Accounting.
Judith said: "To win was a lovely surprise. I really enjoy working with the apprentices and find it extremely rewarding. It's nice to feel that you're doing something positive and helping them to gain their qualifications."
Jonathan Bourne, managing director of Damar Training, said: "Judith really stood out for us. She has so much enthusiasm for her role in supporting the apprentices and is great at motivating them. For any apprentice, it is hard doing a full time job and studying at the same time. To have someone like Judith behind them is a real benefit and the success of apprenticeships at Stockport Truck Centre is a credit to her."
Sarah Cox from Horizon Finance, runner-up in the Supervisor of the Year category was on holiday in Cuba when the ceremony was taking place and was texted by colleagues who told her about her win.
Sarah, Operations Manager at Horizon Finance where she has worked for three years, was nominated for the award for the excellent way she mentors staff and gives them the support and encouragement they need to achieve their qualifications in areas such as customer service and business administration.
Other nominees included Nicola Bell from Bunzl Healthcare and George Town from Churchwood Finance Group.
Mr Bourne added: "Stockport Truck Centre, Churchwood Finance Group and Horizon Finance should be very proud of the hard work and commitment that they have put into helping make apprenticeships a success for the people who undertake them. These awards have been presented in recognition of their achievements and those of their apprentices."
Damar's Apprentice of the Year award went to Vicky Norbury who works at St Paul's Primary School in Withington, Greater Manchester. She completed an apprenticeship in business and administration before going on to complete her accounting AAT qualification in less than seven months. Runner-up was Thomas Bonnie of Chance Hunter Solicitors in Salford.
And Linda Whitworth of NHS Salford received the Mark Aspinall Award for Special Achievement. Linda, a former mill worker, completed an apprenticeship in team leading at the age of 52 after being made redundant. She now heads up a team of cleaners at the Eccles Gateway Centre.
Josh Van Cook, a librarian at Kingsway School in Stockport was runner-up.