2017 Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards

Apprentices, their families and colleagues came together on Friday night to celebrate in style as Truro and Penwith College played host to the 2017 Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards.

Winners and shortlisted nominees for the Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards 2017.

Holly Day and Neil Caddy from Pirate FM presented the awards with support from Cornwall-wide business sponsors to recognise and reward the exceptional achievement of 39 shortlisted learners and employers involved in Apprenticeship training.

The awards, now in their third year, celebrate both the achievements of Apprentices from across Cornwall who work in a variety of sectors, and also those employers who go the extra mile in terms of the provision and support they provide.

The awards are open to all Apprentices and Apprenticeship employers across Cornwall and cover a range of professional categories including construction, engineering, management and media and business. Judging the awards was a panel made up of industry leaders from a range of large and medium Cornwall employers.

The large Apprenticeship employer of the year award was won by the Eden Project for providing high quality and varied work experience opportunities that incorporate additional learning programmes and projects to improve Apprentices’ progression. Highly commended in this category went to Cornwall Council and Imerys.

Medium and SME employer of the year was won by the Victoria Inn at Threemilestone for its focus on retention and progression. For example, eight members of its staff started Apprenticeship programmes with Truro and Penwith College in September 2017.

Highly commended was awarded to private estate Tregothnan and Truro-based accountants Robinson Reed Layton

Cornwall’s Apprentice of the Year was named on the night as 17-year-old hair stylist Shannon O’Regan, who was described by her employer as a “dream apprentice.”

Her nominator and colleague at Marzipan Hair in Truro, Hannah Thomas, said: “The minute we met Shannon, we knew she was going to be the dream Apprentice”.

Seeking to start a career in the hair and beauty sector, Shannon approached Truro and Penwith College in the summer of 2016, and started with Marzipan Hair after a successful interview in August 2016.

Shannon’s talent shone through just six months into her Apprenticeship when she was awarded second place at ‘Cornish Skills’, an annual Hair and Beauty competition for stylists in Apprenticeship or full time training anywhere in Cornwall.

In addition to winning Cornwall’s Apprentice of the Year 2017, Shannon was also awarded Hair and Beauty Apprentice of the Year 2017. Despite being no stranger to recognition for the outstanding level of her work, this was not something Shannon was expecting.

“'Winning not only Hair and Beauty Apprentice of the Year, but the Overall Apprentice of the Year was completely unexpected. An Apprenticeship has been the best route for me so being recognised for my achievements feels absolutely amazing,” Shannon said.

While excelling at work, Shannon has also demonstrated an impressive level of commitment and achievement in her training. “She is flying through the training”, said Hannah. “This is solely down to her dedication and investment of her own time.

“She often practices what she has learnt and then educates the team, she has even taught me new styling techniques and I've been hairdressing for 18 years.”

Shannon has also taken on managing the salon’s social media, developing her photography skills while taking pictures of her work to post online. “The images of her work are certainly of the standard needed to bring in new clients”, added Hannah. “I've worked with many Apprentices and young learners. When an individual stands out like Shannon, we must celebrate them. These awards are a fantastic opportunity to do just that. I believe Shannon is a future star”.

Mum and Business Administration Apprentice for Newquay-based flooring company Oltco, Diane Jones was awarded Achiever of the Year by Award Partners GetMyFirstJob. For the first time in 2017 members of the public had an opportunity to vote for the winner of this category on the Truro and Penwith College website and the campaign for votes was strongly support by media partners Pirate FM.

Having been out of work and a full-time mum for three years before joining Oltco, Diane's confidence grew quickly under the watchful eye of her office manager and company directors and she soon showed ‘signs of huge potential,’ which lead to Oltco developing staff positions. These changes meant the office manager was required to spend more time out of the office and gave Diane the opportunity to take a more responsible role during these occasions.

Diane commented:  ‘I’m extremely happy to have won Business Apprentice of the Year and especially Apprentice Achiever of the Year. I’ve put so much effort into my Apprenticeship so it feels great to have won these awards.”

Diane is now in sole charge of running the office when the office manager is away, which includes taking and creating orders, dealing with visitors and enquiries, creating invoices and taking payments. Nominator and company Director John Pearce commented: “Thanks to Diane's ability to manage her own work load plus the extra responsibility she has taken on, the company has been able to move forward with a direct impact on company turnover.”

Diane’s employer isn’t the only one benefiting from her Apprenticeship training. Diane has also made huge improvements to her Charity ‘The Noah Community Project’ which provides food, clothes, toys and practical support for people in crisis across Cornwall and further afield.

Other category winners on the night included Accountancy Apprentice of the Year - Sponsored by Cornwall Chamber - Ellen Curnow from Lang Bennetts; Business Apprentice of the Year - Sponsored by CORMAC - Diane Jones from Oltco; Construction Apprentice of the Year - Sponsored by Corbey Construction - Oliver Weeks from RHR Construction; Engineering Apprentice of the Year - Sponsored by Watson Marlow Fluid Technology Group - Spencer Brewer from WES Engineering Solutions; Customer Service and Retail Apprentice of the Year - Sponsored by the Rick Stein Group - Rebecca-Jay Thorpe from Cornwall Council; Management and Marketing Apprentice of the Year - Sponsored by the Cornish Pirates - Keira Anderson from Penwith Community Development Trust; Hair and Beauty Apprentice of the Year - Sponsored by the Headland Hotel -Shannon O’Regan from Marzipan Hair; Hospitality Apprentice of the Year - Sponsored by Eden Project - Eleanor Bolton from The Old Coastguard; Motor Vehicle Apprentice of the Year - Sponsored by Steve Andrews Tyres - Joshua Sheppard from Matt Turner Mechanical Services; Digital and IT Apprentice of the Year - Sponsored by Natwest - Daniel Cannons from Tregothnan and Health & Social Care and Childcare Apprentice of the Year - Sponsored by Cornwall Care - Sophie Poulton from Carnon Downs Surgery.

Take a look at your 2017 Cornwall Apprenticeship Award winners here.

Speaking after the event, David Walrond, Principal of Truro and Penwith College, who hosted the Awards commented: “This marks a very exciting time for Apprenticeship training, with a Government commitment to achieving its target of three million Apprentices in England by 2020. So much of the national agenda about improving our skills base and our collective economic prospects will depend on the quality and quantity of the partnership work which learners, colleges and employers collectively undertake.

“That is why this College is so strongly committed to delivering an outstanding experience for our learners and employers, and delighted to host the Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards. They provide the perfect opportunity to recognise exceptional and commitment across Cornwall. I congratulate all of tonight’s winners and wish them the very best in what I am sure is going to be a successful future”.

The Awards presentation, was preceded by a delicious dinner, designed and served by students from the Rick Stein Academy and Truro and Penwith College training kitchens Spires and Senara who were supported by Nick Evans, Head Chef lecturer from Rick Stein’s Seafood School and Truro and Penwith College tutors Mark Lewin and Tony Duce.

The Rick Stein Group also kindly treated all winners with a copy of Rick Stein’s brand new book ‘Road to Mexico’ which accompanies the current BBC TV series.

With the awards landing on the same day as the BBC’s UK charity, Children in Need, envelopes were situated on each table for guests to make donations. The total added a fantastic £422.47 to the charity night’s cause.