For many years, Damar has held an annual awards event for our apprentices at a venue in Stockport. With the growth of our business we realised that, for many employers and their students, travel to Stockport for an evening awards event was no longer viable for the majority of our partners. So, in 2015, our annual awards have been presented to the winners at their offices.
The awards coincide with National Apprenticeship Week (9-13 March 2015) and, this year, recognition has been given to the best apprentices at intermediate, advanced and higher (undergraduate) level. The leading workplace supervisor, employer and newcomer employer have also been honoured. The Mark Aspinall award is presented, each year, to a student that has overcome particular challenges.
We have been delighted with the number and quality of the nominations – in each category there were several nominations that could have been worthy winners. But someone had to win and, after lengthy deliberation, our panel of employers and former apprentices chose the following winners:
- Newcomer Employer of the Year – HRC Law LLP
- Employer of the Year – Weightmans LLP
- Intermediate Apprentice of the Year – Daniel Knowles, gunnercooke LLP
- Advanced Apprentice of the Year – Renaldo Dajko, Interpreting Solutions
- Higher Apprentice of the Year – Jordan Coulton, Weightmans LLP
- Apprentice Supervisor of the Year – Melvin Udeh, Crown Prosecution Service.
The award for overall Apprentice of the Year and the Mark Aspinall Award have been presented to Odran Nelson, who works for Wilmslow-based NTF Financial Solutions. Odran, who is deaf, recently gave an inspiring presentation to the team at Damar about the challenges of coping with deafness in the workplace.
A recurring theme across all of the winners was the positive impact of apprentices on business. We were delighted by the number of employers who reported that their apprentices were making a really valuable contribution, in the form of new ideas, energy or simply taking on work that frees up the time of more experienced employees. We were also very impressed by the level of responsibility that our apprentices, with appropriate supervision, are taking on. There were several examples of apprentices who are directly generating revenue for their employers or are contributing towards business development in one way or another.
We will be announcing our 2016 apprenticeship awards very early next year. In the meantime, we encourage all our employers and apprentices to put themselves forward for other regional and national awards. In Manchester, the Skills for Business Awards are open for nominations until 20th March, details here: http://www.skillsforbusinessawards.co.uk/entry-form. In addition, dates for the National Apprenticeship Service’s annual awards will soon be live, details here: http://www.apprenticeawards.co.uk/landing.php.
Pictured below are Jordan Coulton of Weightmans and Damar’s Managing Director Jonathan Bourne: