Judges unveil the talented finalists of the first West Yorkshire Apprenticeship Awards

Following hours of deliberation, the finalists of the first West Yorkshire Apprenticeship Awards have been unveiled.

By Abbey Maclure
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 4:45 am

A raft of talented apprentices, star employers and top training providers all entered the inaugural competition, set up to shout about the value of apprenticeship schemes.

Three industry experts had the unenviable task of whittling down the entries to a shortlist, which they say is "crammed with talent".

With close to a million active apprenticeships across England alone, the schemes have fast become a sought-after route to future employment for both school leavers and employees looking to boost their skillset.

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From left to right: Industry experts Mark Casci, Annette Hobson and Nick Garthwaite had the unenviable task of whittling down the shortlist (Photo: Steve Riding)

The West Yorkshire Apprenticeship Awards, hosted by the Yorkshire Evening Post in collaboration with the Halifax Courier and Wakefield Express, reward both the apprentices and their employers that are excelling across the county.

The winners across 12 categories will be announced at a glittering ceremony at the McCall Suite, in the home of Bradford City Football Club, on Thursday June 9.

Former BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration will co-host the awards with this year's winner of The Apprentice, West Yorkshire's own Harpreet Kaur.

The judges had some fantastic things to say about the quality of entries.

The winner of The Apprentice, Harpreet Kaur, will co-host the glittering awards dinner next month

The panel is made up by Annette Hobson, regional membership manager for Yorkshire & the Humber at Make UK, and the Yorkshire Post's business editor Mark Casci.

They joined Nick Garthwaite, the chairman of Bradford and Airedale Manufacturing Alliance and Bradford Manufacturing Weeks, and the vice chairman of the North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.

Mark said: "Myself and my fellow judges found the entrants this year to be nothing short of outstanding.

“The calibre of innovation, hard graft and leadership shown by individual apprentices and their employers gave us all huge optimism about the future of West Yorkshire’s economy.

Harpreet and former BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration will announced the winners of the coveted awards

“The shortlist is crammed with young employees who will become the business leaders of the future. They are all ones to watch.

“Apprenticeships are the lifeblood of business. They will form the workforce of tomorrow and set the agenda for the economy of the future.

“Apprenticeships are a fantastic method of entering the workforce, one that avoids accruing debts and offers an on-the-job learning experience which cannot be equalled.”

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The judges said their shortlist is 'crammed with talent' (Photo: Steve Riding)

Annette, who is herself completing a degree apprenticeship in chartered management, knows the importance of apprenticeship schemes.

"The level of achievement from the apprentices was absolutely incredible to see," she said.

"It's a fabulous route to enter work life and find out what you want to do. Or, like in my case, it's a way to upskill.

"An apprenticeship isn't just for young people. It's for people at any stage, for people who might want to enhance their existing capabilities and knowledge, or even enter a different career path altogether.

"It will be really nice to see the people we've had the pleasure of meeting on paper."

A thanks to our sponsors

Sponsoring the SME Apprentice Employer of the Year award is Yorkshire & Humber Apprentice Ambassador Network, while Haribo is backing the Large Business Apprentice Employer.

Zenith is the sponsor of the Diversity and Inclusion Programme, the Occupational Awards are sponsoring the Training Provider/Programme of the Year and Mentor of the Year is backed by Leeds Trinity University.

There is an award for the Intermediate or Advanced Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by Openreach, as well as Professional Services Apprentice of the Year and the Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year, backed by Bradford College.

Sponsoring the Engineering & Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year is Appris Bradford.

The Royal Navy has got behind the Health & Public Service Apprentice of the Year award, Technology & Digital Apprentice of the Year award is sponsored by Northcoders.

And finally, the Construction Apprentice of the Year award is sponsored by Yorkshire Housing.

A thanks also to our support sponsors, Bradford Council and the West Yorkshire Consortium of College.

Here are the finalists:

Construction Apprentice of the Year

Henry Charlesworth, NG Bailey

Josh Tipple, Travis Perkins

Lewis Sale, Yorkshire Housing

Diversity & Inclusion Programme

FDM Group

Produmax

Engineering and Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year

Louis Audain, Brandon Medical Company

Aman Athwal, Bowers Metrology Group

Joseph Flynn, Syngenta

Alexandra Johnson, Produmax

Health and Public Service Apprentice of the Year

Ambreen Aziz, Kirklees Libraries

Ellie Caton, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust

Alexandra Soare, Leeds Hospitals Teaching Trust

Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year

Katelyn Longfellow, WSP

Lisa Walsh, Sky Betting and Gaming

Leanne Wilson, Leeds Community Healthcare Trust

Intermediate Apprenticeship of the Year

Megan Lucy Irvine, Kolorcraft Group

Muhammad Uddin, Yorkshire Housing

Large Business Apprentice Employer of the Year

Solenis

Syngenta

Yorkshire Housing

Mentor of the Year

Paul Platt, Solenis

Rachael Smith, Zenith

Professional Services Apprentice of the Year

Yousef Hussain, Azets

Alexandra Robinson, Thornton Primary School

Victoria Wilkinson, J Tomlinson

SME Apprentice Employer of the Year

Ebsford Environment

Kolorcraft

Produmax

Technology & Digital Apprentice of the Year

Matthew Fletcher, Leeds & Yorkshire Housing Trust

Joe Mills, Sky Bet & Gaming

Fiona Simons, Sky Bet & Gaming

Training Provider/Programme of the Year

Bradford College

Wakefield College