Two construction firms have been ‘highly commended’ at the National Apprenticeship Awards 2021. Essex based Higgins Partnerships, and McCarrick Construction from County Durham received the award in the SME Employer of the Year category, sponsored by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and RITTech. The overall winner was Birmingham based Lander Automotive, which manufactures products mainly for the automotive sector.
Lucy Ireland, Managing Director at BCS Learning and Development, presented the awards and said: ‘Congratulations to all who underwent the rigorous judging process for this category. The finalists are fantastic examples of firms that run exemplary apprenticeship schemes for their staff.’
Strictly Come Dancing and BBC star Dan Walker returned to host the Awards for a second year. For the first time ever, the event was both in person and live streamed. Finalists, sponsors, the Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi and Minister for Skills Alex Burghart attended the event at a central London venue. It was also available online with family, friends and supporters from across the apprenticeship community able to join in the celebrations from home.
Apprenticeships ‘leading the way’
The Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP gave the keynote speech and said: ‘Apprenticeships are the living proof about what’s best in our education system. We are entering a new era of the skills economy, which is something that this government regards as an absolute priority.
‘I want to congratulate everyone for being the best of the best. These awards fill me with confidence and optimism for the future. There is even more to come, and apprenticeships are leading the way.’
The award sponsor, BCS, carries out the final check – called the end-point assessment – where a digital apprentice demonstrates they are thoroughly trained and competent. Around 13,000 digital apprentices have completed this process through BCS so far. Annette Allmark, Head of Apprenticeships at BCS, said: ‘These awards are a fantastic way to celebrate apprenticeships and promote the opportunities they present to both individuals and employers. With recognised skills shortages in many areas, including IT and digital skills, no matter how big or small an organisation is, they can all benefit from talented apprentices.’
The judging panels chose the regional finalists for nine different categories during November, including Apprentice of the Year. Other sponsors of the National Apprenticeship Awards 2021 include the Army and the Royal Navy, Lloyds Banking Group and BT.