Apprentices, their families and colleagues came together on Friday night to celebrate in style and witness an historic Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards as Truro and Penwith College’s eighth annual event took place outside of the College for the very first time, with the biggest ever audience and line-up of categories.
Holly Day and Neil Caddy from Pirate FM presented the awards, held in partnership with Hertzian and Media Partners Business Cornwall, with support from a host of local and national sponsors, to recognise and reward the exceptional achievement of 48 shortlisted learners, mentors and employers across 18 categories.
The eighth annual awards took place at Eden Project for the very first time having outgrown its traditional Truro College venue, with the biggest ever audience of well over 200 celebrating the achievements of apprentices from across Cornwall who work in a variety of sectors, those employers who go the extra mile in the provision and support they provide their own apprentices and for the very first time in 2024, the very best apprenticeship mentors.
The awards are open to all apprentices, apprenticeship employers and mentors across Cornwall and cover a range of professional categories including construction, engineering, management, marketing and business. Judging the awards was a panel of industry leaders from a range of large and medium employers from Cornwall and across the UK.
The new Academic and Workplace Mentor of the Year categories were added to the event for the very first time to recognise the significant impact academic and workplace support has on providing apprentices with a quality start to their career and future career prospects.
Tamzin Irvin, Programme Team Leader of Nursing and Allied Health at Truro and Penwith College, scooped the first-ever Academic Mentor of the Year Award in recognition of her key role in establishing Nursing apprenticeship programmes, allowing Nurses to train locally at Truro and Penwith College while gaining the workplace experience and skills to boost Nursing numbers on the frontline of Cornwall’s NHS.
Emma Harris from Cornwall Group Ltd picked up Workplace Mentor of the Year and was described as ‘a consistent source of inspiration with countless success stories from those who are fortunate enough to be mentored by her’.
The exceptional work of staff across Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT) was highlighted when apprentice Becki Hirst was handed Health, Care and Public Services Apprentice of the Year by sponsors Costain Group, before James Angliss, degree-level Chartered Surveyor apprentice, was not only presented Construction and Trade Occupations Apprentice of the Year by sponsors Fox Construction Solutions but also the coveted title of Cornwall’s Apprentice of the Year 2024 for his exceptional success following a life-changing diagnosis.
James joined the RCHT team as a Level 2 Construction Apprentice in 2017 following a diagnosis of IBD. Displaying a huge level of tenacity and work ethic, James went on to achieve two promotions in just three years before moving onto his Chartered Surveying apprenticeship. Now in his early twenties James is on track to achieve a Distinction in 2025 and has already made a significant impact on Cornwall’s Health sector having project managed the delivery of a multi-million-pound breast screening equipment replacement programme.
Nick Cooper, Communications Consultant at Costain Group, was one of three judges in the Construction and Trade Occupations category and commented: “From such a young age and relatively little experience James has been hugely successful, the breast screening project that he was responsible for has come in under budget and ahead of schedule which is a massive win for Cornwall and something that James can rightly be very proud of”.
James commented: “I’m absolutely thrilled, chuffed, I never expected this, thank you to the judges and congratulations to everyone who was nominated.
“I finished College with only two A Levels, I was derailed by IBD, but having an apprenticeship gave me a different route and I’m now on the path to become Chartered with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
“For anybody that isn’t an apprentice and might want to be, just take a look, there’s lots of inspiring people in the room today. Just listen to their stories, apprenticeships are a great pathway and I’ve benefited a great deal out of it and you could too.”
The Achiever of the Year category is awarded to an apprentice who has overcome adversity or some form of challenge to complete their apprenticeship and is subject to a public vote. 2024’s Achiever of the Year was presented by Award Partners Hertzian to 47-year-old Sarah Hyde-Wear, Restaurant Supervisor and Hospitality Apprentice at Fistral Beach Hotel, who was also presented Hospitality Apprentice of the Year by sponsors BIIAB.
Judges noted Sarah’s navigation of several difficulties and personal hurdles throughout her apprenticeship including the need to re-sit her English and Maths exams and a Dyslexia diagnosis while undergoing hip surgery and a significant family illness. Sarah was highlighted on the night as someone who has displayed copious amounts of resilience and determination on her apprenticeship journey.
Sarah’s nominator described her as; “a positive influence on her team, always going above and beyond and making guests her priority while helping her department implement cost savings and streamline operational procedures while balancing her homelife and studies.”
Sarah commented: “I’ve not been in education for over 30-years and I feel super proud of myself.
“Being nominated alone, for me was a win on its own but to actually win is pretty incredible. A lot of people have called me resilient and determined, and tenacious, and some words that I’ve never really come across in my life and actually it’s made me realise just how much I can do and what I can achieve, and actually I’m really, really proud of myself.
“If you’ve got a chance to be an apprentice then take the opportunity, it doesn’t matter how old you are, believe in yourself and just give it a go. The support network I’ve had around me since I’ve been at the College has been incredible”.
The 2023/24 academic year has already been very successful for Truro and Penwith College, not only hosting the biggest Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards ever with nine of its learners coming out on top in the 14 apprentice categories, the College has also been recognised as Cornwall’s only Expert Apprenticeship Provider by the Department for Education (DfE), one of only five Colleges to have achieved the status across the UK.
Continued multi-million-pound facilities investments have also seen the College open its new STEM and Health Skills Centre Bodmin to complement state-of-the-art facilities at its Penzance and Truro campus, where this week it is due to break ground on a £1.7 million redevelopment and expansion of future-focused Construction facilities that will welcome students from September.
The Large Apprentice Employer of the Year award was sponsored by Foot Anstey LLP and won by Pendennis Shipyard which has entered its 26th year of delivering apprenticeships, with a staggering 350 apprentices embarking on careers with the firm and an impressive 95% of these seamlessly transitioning into permanent positions, HNCs and university-level apprenticeships, with 18% of the management team having been former apprentices.
SME Employer of the Year, sponsored by Cornwall Opportunities, was won by Hiyield with two of the company’s apprentices, Paige Sambells and Logan Ford, winning Marketing Apprentice of the Year and Digital and IT Apprentice of the year respectively.
Judges described Hiyield as; “second to none for its commitment to apprenticeship training, communication and successful return on investment, by valuing placements as highly as they do and positivity echoing across the whole company, Hiyield has established apprenticeships as a path to lifelong learning and wage growth”.
Other category winners on the night included: Accountancy Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Cornwall Council – Ned Seabourne from Cornwall Group Ltd; Health, Care and Public Services Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Costain Group – Becki Hirst from Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust; Digital and IT Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by University of Exeter – Logan Ford from Hiyield; Business Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Inn Cornwall Ltd – Matt Toms from Eden Project; Management Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Imerys – Matt Newman from Watson Marlow; Marketing Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Bull & Wolf – Paige Sambells from Hiyield; Hair and Beauty Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by VTCT – Hope Wishart from Goldbird Hair; Motor Vehicle Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Go Cornwall Bus – Lester Akehurst from Coach House Motors MOT Centre; Engineering and Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by GetMyFirstJob – Harry Hay from Teagle Machinery Ltd and Land-based Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Eden Project – Anne Karvinen from Calweton Veterinary Group.
Speaking after the event, Martin Tucker, Principal of Truro and Penwith College, commented: “We are delighted to host the eighth annual Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards and to celebrate exceptional achievement and outcomes in apprenticeship training across Cornwall. I’d like to give special thanks to our sponsors, supporters and business partners for not only their contributions this evening but without whom the College’s exceptional work in apprenticeship training simply wouldn’t be possible.
“For apprenticeships to deliver economically they need to be of the highest quality. The Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards presents a perfect opportunity to recognise that quality and we have thoroughly enjoyed this evening celebrating all the talent that exists across all apprenticeship provision in Cornwall.
“The 2023/24 academic year has already been hugely successful for the College having been recognised by the DfE as Cornwall’s only Apprenticeship Expert and one of only five FE Colleges to have achieved this status across the UK.
“The new status allows us to work even more closely with our employers and the DfE to continually develop the very best apprenticeship programmes for Cornwall. The College’s continued work to support Cornwall’s businesses while improving the life chances of local people, through quality apprenticeship careers and an unprecedented level of investment in facilities development has all come together to achieve this recognition.
“A huge congratulations to all of tonight’s nominees, we can’t wait to see where their careers take them next”.
Christopher Weavill, Co-Founder and CEO at Award Partners Hertzian said: “Eighteen percent of Hertzian’s workforce is made up of Truro and Penwith College Apprentices, with thirty-six percent having studied an Apprenticeship with Hertzian at some stage of their career. We are very happy to be sponsoring Cornwall’s Apprenticeship Awards event as the Award Partner and Achiever of the Year”.
The Awards were preceded by live music and a delicious four-course dinner, with three courses prepared and served from Eden Project kitchens followed by petits fours, fresh from students in the training kitchens at Truro and Penwith College. Further support was offered from the business community with generous sponsorship from Corbey Construction providing the stunning glass trophies and Friends of the Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards Coastline Housing and Cornwall Glass Manufacturing.
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The winners: Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards 2024
Large Employer of the Year – Sponsored by Foot Anstey LLP – Pendennis Shipyard
SME Employer of the Year – Sponsored by Cornwall Opportunities – Hiyield
Hospitality Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by BIIAB – Sarah Hyde-Wear from Fistral Beach Hotel
Accountancy Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Cornwall Council – Ned Seabourne from Cornwall Group Ltd.
Construction and Trade Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Fox Construction Solutions – James Angliss from Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
Health, Care and Public Services Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Costain Group – Becki Hirst from Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.
Digital and IT Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by University of Exeter – Logan Ford from Hiyield
Business Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Inn Cornwall Ltd – Matt Toms from Eden Project
Management Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Imerys – Matt Newman from Watson Marlow
Marketing Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Bull & Wolf – Paige Sambells from Hiyield
Hair and Beauty Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by VTCT – Hope Wishart from Goldbird Hair
Motor Vehicle Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Go Cornwall Bus – Lester Akehurst from Coach House Motors MOT Centre
Engineering and Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by GetMyFirstJob – Harry Hay from Teagle Machinery Ltd
Land-based Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Eden Project – Anne Karvinen from Calweton Veterinary Group.
Academic Mentor of the Year – Sponsored by Truro and Penwith College – Tamzin Irvin from Truro and Penwith College
Workplace Mentor of the Year – Sponsored by Truro and Penwith College – Emma Harris from Cornwall Group Ltd
Apprentice Achiever of the Year – Sponsored by Hiyield – Sarah Hyde-Wear from Fistral Beach Hotel
Cornwall’s Apprentice of the Year 2024 – Sponsored by Truro and Penwith College – James Angliss from Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust