Apprentices in the running for awards

The finalists in the first Ladder for the Black Country Apprenticeship Awards are revealed today.

Express & Star Editor Martin Wright and Rob Colbourne welcome sponsors
Express & Star Editor Martin Wright and Rob Colbourne welcome sponsors

The initiative, backed by the Express & Star and with Wolverhampton Council as headline sponsor, has been created to celebrate the best and brightest apprentices in the region.

The winners of the 11 categories will be announced on November 3 at the awards evening being held in the Grand Hall at Grand Station, Wolverhampton.

The Express & Star's overall apprentice of the year will also be announced on the night.

Judging took place in the board room at the newspaper's Queen Street head office in Wolverhampton.

Editor in Chief Martin Wright told judges from sponsoring firms that the brand new campaign that the awards had had a really good response and it had created an excellent platform to build on in the future.

Rob Colbourne, Ladder for the Black Country founder member and chief executive of Walsall-based Performance Through People, said: "As we are approaching the first Black Country Ladder Apprenticeship Awards, I can’t stress how grateful I am to the Express & Star and all our other partners in making this happen.

"We know the positive impact the apprenticeship brand can have on individuals, employers and communities and the awards will help us showcase the fantastic journey some of the finalists have been on, and indeed are still on as they progress within their businesses further.

"The awards will also showcase the incredible work training providers do in supporting apprentices and employers, which in the long term, contributes to increased skills levels within the region.

The awards evening will be hosted by Dicky Dodd, breakfast presenter on WCR FM radio, who said he was thrilled to be taking part in the event. "This is a first for the Express & Star and I'm proud to be hosting the awards night," he said.

The finalists are:

Construction and Property Industries (sponsored by Phoenix Consortia): Oliver McCourt, Eco-1 Electrical Solutions; Tim Bellingham, Wates Living Space and Connor Smith, Wolverhampton Homes.

Engineering and Manufacturing (sponsored by Voelstalpine Metsec): Manpreet Garcha, A&T Enclosures; Morgan Harper, Vacuum and Atmosphere Services and Sophie Young, PP Control and Automation.

Health Education and Care (sponsored by BCTG): Summar Wilkes, Smile Style Dental Care; Chris Taylor, Walsall Council and Andrew Farrington, SWB NHS Trust.

Professional Services (sponsored by Higgs LLP): Rio Berry, Trailer Freight International; Lily O'Brien, Crosby Management Training; Praise Anyanegbu, City of Wolverhampton Council and Emma Hannon, Walsall Council.

Tech, Digital and Creative Industries (sponsored by Homeserve Furniture Repairs): Oliver Dutton, Stones Throw Media; Andrew Farrington, SWB NHS TRUST and Luke Morgan, Walsall Council.

Hospitality, Retail, Leisure and Travel (sponsored by Marston's): Nathan Reeves, Currys; Amy Davies, A F Blakemore and Son and Katie Poole, A F Blakemore and Son.

Education and Engagement Award (sponsored by Collins Aerospace): Juniper Training; Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust and Walsall College.

Large Employer of the Year (250+) (sponsored by Wolverhampton Homes): Sandwell Council, Walsall Council and Marston's.

Medium Employer of the Year (51-249) (sponsored by Aartee Bright Bar): A&T Enclosures, Acorn Group and Nant.

Small Employer of the Year (1-50) (sponsored by Openreach): Penny Post Credit Union, Stones Throw Media and Fairytales Day Nursery.

Training Provider of the Year (sponsored by Western Power Distribution): The Development Manager, Performance Through People and Juniper Training.

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