Cornwall’s Achiever of the Year 2021: Voting is now closed

The Achiever of the Year category recognises apprentices who have overcome personal challenge or adversity to successfully complete their apprenticeship training and make valuable contributions to their employer.

Meet the nominees

The stories of our 2021 Achiever of the Year nominees are listed below. 

The result of the public vote, that closed on Monday 13 September, will be combined with judes scores to determine the winner of the award, who will be recognised on stage with Holly Day and Neil Caddy from Pirate FM at the 2021 Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards on 19 November.

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

2019 Achiever of the Year Brandon Penwarden (right) with sponsor Tim Rumbelow from Cornwall Live (left)

Meet the 2021 Nominees

Dani Dyer

Job Title: Apprentice Mentor
Apprenticeship: Employability Practitioner Level 4
Learning Provider: Impact Futures
Employer: Konnect Communities

After joining Konnect Communities in November 2020, Dani started her apprenticeship in January 2021 at the start of a three-month lockdown. Dani is a single parent and found herself in a very challenging situation with two school age children, juggling home schooling with her full-time job and apprenticeship.

Despite these challenges she has already completed nearly two-thirds of what is a two-year apprenticeship!

Dani’s role requires her to engage and support some of the most disadvantaged people in local communities, helping them to overcome barriers in their lives. Her desire to help others, resilience and drive for personal and professional development stems from Dani’s own experience of becoming a single parent at a young age, missing out on some educational opportunities that were available to her peers at that time.

Dani did not let this hold her back overcoming personal adversity, along with the stigma of being a ‘young mum’ to get where she wanted to be and completed an Access course, degree and then a teaching qualification before starting her apprenticeship.

Dani’s Team Leader says: “She has flourished during her apprenticeship, not only professionally but also with regards to believing in herself and her natural abilities as a mentor. She is an absolute professional, always willing to take on new challenges and her passion and ambition are truly admirable”.

Leah Richards

Job Title: Martial Arts Instructor and Customer Service Personnel
Apprenticeship: Customer Service Level 2
Learning Provider: Truro and Penwith College
Employer: Byrne Black Belt Academy

With the help of martial arts and her apprenticeship Leah has overcome personal challenges with the educational system, developed a strong sense of self discipline, gone onto become a World Champion and enjoyed a successful start to her career.

Leah found martial arts at the Academy while she was struggling with full-time education. The Academy director saw potential and offered Leah her apprenticeship role.

Now 17 she is near completing her qualification and has won multiple gold medals at world championships.

Her career as an instructor and in customer service is flourishing with many glowing reports from parents and students.

Leah now teaches her own classes, helps in the coffee shop, pro shop and is helping future apprentices.

During lockdown Leah helped to film 75-hours of videos for students and now produces a daily Facebook Live video to attract prospective students. She has given up her own time to help other students prepare for competitions and gradings, to develop her skills on the Academy’s website and online shop and is learning to drive so she can take her classes to other areas of Cornwall.

The Academy’s Director describes Leah as: “A fantastic asset to our company, she has superstar qualities and goes above and beyond to ensure everyone enjoys themselves and has a positive experience”.

Lucas Allen

Job Title: Vehicle Technician
Apprenticeship: Motor Vehicle Service and Maintenance Technician
Learning Provider: Truro and Penwith College
Employer: Matt Turner Mechanical Services

Lucas had a complex back operation while working towards his GCSEs in 2019/20 on top of already supporting his mum who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018.

Despite the physical and mental challenges of the situation Lucas went on to achieve positive results in his GCSEs and successfully started his apprenticeship after his exams in July 2020.

Throughout this period Lucas supported his mum and family, caring for his mum, doing the shopping and cooking while also finding time to study and complete his coursework.

Thankfully Lucas’ mum is now in remission and his operation was successful in limiting the physical effects of his condition.

By September 2020 the easing of lockdown meant trade started to pick up again, with some colleagues working reduced hours due to home schooling. Lucas quickly learned how to deal with customers, order parts, price jobs and deal with the booking system, offering significant support to his employer.

Lucas’ nominator notes that throughout his apprenticeship and challenges he has never given up or felt sorry for himself, he thoroughly enjoys life and work, and his determination to succeed is ‘breath-taking’.

A Partner at Matt Turner Mechanical Services says: “He is tenacious, organised, resilient and his energy is infectious. If the world could take just a small percentage of his can-do, positive kind and caring attitude it would certainly be a better place”.