The 2021 Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards are a great success

Apprentices, their families and colleagues came together on Friday night to celebrate in style as the Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards made its grand return at Truro and Penwith College in partnership with DL Accounts Ltd.

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 46 shortlisted learners and employers involved in Apprenticeship training.

The annual awards retuned for the sixth time after a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic to 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.

2021 was a very successful year for learners from Truro and Penwith College as 11 of the Ofsted Outstanding College’s Apprentices came out on top in the 14 Apprentice categories.

The Community Champion Award was one of two new categories introduced this year. Sponsored by Combined Tree Services – The Tree Surgeons, the Award recognises learners who have made exceptional contributions to their employer and the local community throughout the pandemic. Lilah-Mae Pollard from Truro and Penwith College and Coastline Housing won the Award after volunteering to work on the frontline in one of Coastline’s care homes after being furloughed from her Administration Apprenticeship role.

The Large Apprenticeship Employer of the Year award was sponsored by FootAnstey LLP and won by Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT) with its apprenticeship numbers growing by nearly three times since 2017 through a range of new apprenticeships including new degree level nursing programme developed with Truro and Penwith College. RCHT has also donated some of its Apprenticeship Levy to help fund over 80 apprenticeships within Cornwall’s care and charity sectors.

SME Employer of the Year was won by Corbey Construction and sponsored by Cornwall Apprenticeships. Corbey Construction has shown continued commitment to the education, training and development of young people, training over 50 apprentices with many learners going on to establish their own businesses and even employ their own apprentices.

Described as ‘breath-taking’ Cornwall’s Apprentice of the Year was named on the night as 17-year-old Motor Vehicle apprentice Lucas Allen from Matt Turner Mechanical Services.

Lucas earnt the admiration of judges having overcome a complex back operation in the 2019/20 academic year on top of supporting his mum who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Successfully achieving his GCSEs Lucas went on to start his apprenticeship in July 2020 while continuing to support his mum and family with shopping and cooking while also finding time to study. At the start of his apprenticeship Lucas quickly learned to deal with customers, order parts, price jobs and deal with the booking system to cover for senior members of staff whose working hours were limited due to juggling childcare and home schooling.

Speaking on the night about his win, Lucas said: “I didn’t know I was even nominated for the award so was quite shocked to get it. I love my apprenticeship. there’s a lot of responsibility for myself that I’m enjoying but also lots of support.

“I’d definitely recommend an apprenticeship. You can earn and learn at the same time so it’s win-win. I couldn’t have done it without my employers, so thank you.”

Lucas’s employer Matt from Matt Turner Mechanical Services said of Luke: “We’re ecstatic and very proud. Luke is willing to adapt to any job and helps out so much in the workshop. He’s got a very positive, can-do attitude and he’s just one of the family really. He has adapted to our way of working and works hard for the customers as well.”

Described as a ‘role model’ to young children the Apprentice Achiever of the Year 2021 was awarded to 17-year-old Leah Richards from Byrne Black Belt Academy.

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 Media Partner Cornwall Live.

Leah struggled with school and left College after one month but her personality shone through at her martial arts classes at the Academy, leading to her being offered an apprenticeship in Customer Service where she has excelled. Leah not only supports new students to make them feel at home but has started to teach her own classes and filmed 75-hours of videos to keep students active during the various lockdowns. She also makes valuable contributions to her employer writing Facebook adverts and talking to prospective students, inviting them to trial classes before enrolling them at the Academy.

In addition to the new Community Champion award, this year also saw the addition of the Health, Care and Public Services Apprentice of the Year category, sponsored by Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. The category has been added to the event in response to Truro and Penwith College launching Cornwall’s only nursing apprenticeships with Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust and care providers across Cornwall.

The Award was won by Alison Richardson from Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust for showing great motivation on her journey to becoming a Registered Nurse through the apprenticeship route, receiving nominations for multiple workplace awards due to her work ethic and compassion whilst caring for acutely unwell patients.

Other category winners on the night included: Hospitality Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by St Austell Family Group – Aimee Kent from The Victoria Inn, Threemilestone; Accountancy Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Whyfield – Joshua Barden from DL Accounts Ltd; Construction and Trade Occupations Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by A&P Williams Ltd – Rory Winch from Duchy Timber Buildings; Digital and IT Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Falmouth Exeter Plus – Hugh Gibbard from Cornwall Council; Business Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Inn Cornwall – Leah Richards from Byrne Black Belt Academy; Management Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Skills Hub – Emily Stanbury from Falmouth Exeter Plus; Marketing Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Ginga Business Consultancy – Maisy-Sky Lumbers from Penlee House Gallery & Museum and Penzance Council; Hair and Beauty Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by VTCT – Brooke Sharkey from Cutting Edge; Motor Vehicle Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Steve Andrews Tyres – Lucas Allen from Matt Turner Mechanical Services; Engineering and Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Cornwall Space and Aerospace Technology Training Project – Sam Weedon from Daften Die-Casting and Land-based Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Combined Tree Services – Tree Surgeons Ltd – Luke Bradley from Bradley Farm Partnership.

Speaking after the event, Martin Tucker, Principal of Truro and Penwith College, which hosted the Awards, commented: “We were delighted to host the sixth 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 2021 sees the addition of the Health, Care and Public Services Apprentice of the Year Award to give focus to exciting apprenticeship developments in these areas and highlight the vital role they have played in recent times, and the Community Champion category to recognise exceptional contributions throughout the pandemic.

“The College’s Apprenticeship provision continues to rapidly expand 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 college Apprenticeship providers nationally, with achievement rates more than 17% above the national average of all providers in the UK”.

Siobhan Lawrence from Award Partners DL Accounts Ltd said: “DL Accounts Ltd know from our own experience the value that apprentices bring to a business. We feel honoured in helping to employ and train the future generation of learners and workers. We are delighted to support this year’s Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards to celebrate the exceptional achievement and contribution of both learners and employers involved in Apprenticeship training”.

The Awards presentation, was preceded by a delicious dinner, prepared 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, Andy Offland, Sarah-Jane Harrison, Lee Hall, Rosie Wing, Alison Smith, Teresa Smith and Vanessa Offland. The College's in-house theatre technicians Jon Johnson, Chris Rogers and Lee Penny provided stunning lighting, video and sound throughout and were supported by Alan Porter.