2019 Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards are heralded a great success

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

2019 winners and highly commended nominees at the Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards

2019 winners and highly commended nominees at the Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards

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 47 shortlisted learners and employers involved in Apprenticeship training.

The awards celebrate both the achievements of Apprentices from across Cornwall who work in a variety of sectors and 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 marketing and business. Judging the Awards was a panel made up of industry leaders from a range of large and medium Cornish employers. 2019 was a very successful year for learners from Truro and Penwith College as 10 of the Ofsted Outstanding College’s Apprentices came out on top in 14 Apprentice categories.

The Beacon Award for Inclusive Apprenticeship Recruitment was one of two new categories introduced this year. Sponsored by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP Beacon Project, this Award recognises employers who go the extra mile to support Apprentices with disabilities or long-term health conditions. Cornwall Council won this Award for the high level of support and care given by managers and colleagues, including the whole team opting to learn sign language for an Apprentice who was unable to verbally communicate. St Austell Brewery and disAbility Cornwall & Isles of Scilly were awarded highly commended in this category.

The Large Apprenticeship Employer of the Year award was won by Pendennis Shipyard for their continuous development of all Apprentices. Over 250 have started their careers with 95% being employed permanently; some are now managers and project leaders on multi-million-pound boats. Highly commended in this category was Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and St Austell Brewery.

SME Employer of the Year was won by Hunter and Walsh. Hunter and Walsh coach their Apprentices through every step of their programme, encouraging all staff to take part in an additional course of their choice each year, fully paid for by the organisation. Many Apprentices still work in the salon, while others have gone on to have successful careers throughout the UK and Europe - one is currently working as a lead educator in a Parisienne colour house! This year’s highly commended nominees were WISKA UK and Tregothnan.

Cornwall's Apprentice of the Year Tim Martin (right) with Martin Tucker, Director of Operations at Truro and Penwith College (left)

Cornwall's Apprentice of the Year Tim Martin (right) with Martin Tucker, Director of Operations at Truro and Penwith College (left)

Cornwall’s Apprentice of the Year was named on the night as 30-year-old Tim Martin from FireText. Despite joining FireText with little prior experience in Computing and IT, Tim developed an “Auto Top-Up” feature, allowing customers to “top-up” their SMS credit with a stored credit card. This feature was developed, tested and launched to the first customers within just four months of Tim starting his Apprenticeship, and has generated in excess of £50,000.

“I’ve been at FireText for about 15 months now and it’s great. The team in my office have been amazing. I’ve received a lot of support from my Employer as well as the College; my tutor has always been there when I’ve asked for help with things, he’s brilliant”, comments Tim. “This evening was incredible, I can’t believe how big of an event this was; it’s unlike anything I’ve ever been to before and I’m so happy to have won the Apprentice of the Year Award.”

“Tim is an exceptional addition to the FireText team. Tim has already developed skills beyond that of similar graduates (with degree qualifications and years of experience) and has contributed to not only day-to-day bug fixes, but has also developed ideas and turned these into features we have launched to our entire customer base, comments Dan Parker, Managing Director at FireText. “What Tim has achieved from a skill set perspective is mind-blowing.”

Achiever of the Year Brandon Penwarden (right) with sponsor Tim Rumbelow from Cornwall Live (left)

Achiever of the Year Brandon Penwarden (right) with sponsor Tim Rumbelow from Cornwall Live (left)

Cited by judges as “determined, courageous and inspirational” the Apprentice Achiever of the Year 2019 was awarded to 18-year-old Brandon Penwarden from St Austell Brewery.

The Achiever of the Year category is awarded to an Apprentice who has overcome adversity or some form of personal challenge to complete their Apprenticeship and is subject to a public vote that was heavily supported by the Awards partner Cornwall Live.

Brandon was diagnosed with cancer on the brain when he was 18 months old. Surgery meant he had to re-learn to walk and talk, putting him two years behind those of the same age. This also resulted in Hemiplegia (which is paralysis of one side of the body) and doctors said that Brandon would never walk again. But with hard work, Brandon limited the effects to muscles in his left arm. Now working at the Pier House Hotel, he successfully assists chefs with his preparation work and is so determined to succeed that he has taught himself to fillet fish and debone chicken with one hand; a feat that everyone around him thought would be unachievable!

Jon Kelley, Early Years Careers Liaison at St Austell Brewery, said: “Brandon continues to amaze everyone he meets at both work and college. He is a role model that everyone can learn from showing that regardless of your circumstances, if you have the opportunity and show the right level of determination and perseverance, your Apprenticeship will bring you great rewards.”

 “I’ve learnt a lot of new skills during my Apprenticeship with the support of my colleagues at St Austell Brewery and my tutors at Truro and Penwith College. Working as a chef was initially quite difficult because of my disability but I’ve adapted to it over time and I’m really proud of myself,” commented Brandon. “I’m so happy to have been recognised for my achievements at the Awards this evening, it’s been a brilliant night.”

Guests seated for dinner at the Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards

Guests seated for dinner at the Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards

As well as the Beacon Award for Inclusive Apprenticeship Recruitment, this year also saw the addition of the Land-based Apprentice of the Year category, sponsored by Eden Project. This category was created to recognise key sectors in Cornwall such as horticulture and agriculture. Megan Lowman from Eden Project, who has become an expert in plant husbandry and cultivation, won the Award for this category. Megan works independently to deliver important projects and took on the responsibility for the Orchid House.

Other category winners on the night included: Hospitality Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by St Austell Brewery – Darren Dunstan from The Victoria Inn, Threemilestone; Accountancy Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by St Austell Printing Company – Mimi Beard from PKF Francis Clark; Construction and Trade Occupations Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Tregothnan – James Faull from Ed Faull Stone Masons Ltd; Health and Social Care and Childcare Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by CAHSC – Lyndsey Bunt from Trelawney Care; Digital and IT Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Bluefruit Software – Tim Martin from FireText; Management and Marketing Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Falmouth Exeter Plus – Emily Stanbury from Falmouth Exeter Plus; Business Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by RRL– Eleanor King from Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust; Customer Service and Retail Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Federation of Small Businesses – Alistair McKenna from MY Compliance Management; Hair and Beauty Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by VTCT – Chloe Pym from Headland Hotel; Motor Vehicle Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Steve Andrews Tyres – Joshua Richards from Richards Brothers and Engineering and Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group – Rowan Penhaligon from Terrill Brothers.

Speaking after the event, David Walrond, Principal of Truro and Penwith College, which hosted the Awards, commented: “We were delighted to host the fifth 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, without whom the event simply wouldn’t be possible and we are incredibly grateful for their support.

“I’m pleased that 2019 sees the addition of the Land-based Apprentice of the Year Award to recognise key industries in Cornwall and the Beacon Award in partnership with the CIoS LEP, which tackles a very worthy agenda.

“The College’s Apprenticeship provision is rapidly expanding to provide workplace experience and qualifications up to degree level. Quality of experience and of outcomes continues to be our focus and the latest data from the Department for Education demonstrates that Truro and Penwith College is in the top 10% of all 173 College Apprenticeship providers nationally, with achievement rates more than 12% above the national average of all providers in the UK”.

The Awards presentation, was preceded by a delicious dinner, incorporating dishes from employers in Cornwall’s hospitality sector. The menu was designed and served by Apprentices from a range of Truro and Penwith College’s employers and students from full-time hospitality programmes. Students were supported by tutors Tony Duce, Mark Lewin, Hannah Dome, Andy Offland, Sarah-Jane Harrison, Suzanne Croft and Andy Carr. The College's in-house theatre technicians Jon Johnson, Chris Rogers and Lee Penny provided stunning lighting, video and sound throughout.

As well as celebrating the achievements of Apprentices and their employers, the awards coincided with the annual Children in Need fundraising evening and a collection on the night raised £207.64 for the Children in Need charity appeal.

To find out more about Apprenticeships with Truro and Penwith College, please visit: www.truro-penwith.ac.uk/apprenticeships