Businesses which change the lives of young people were celebrated at the first Buxton & Leek College Apprenticeship Employer Awards.
Enterprises ranging from beauty salons and joinery firms to engineering companies were treated to a gala dinner at the college’s Fine Dining restaurant as a thank-you during National Apprenticeship Week.
College Principal Len Tildsley said an apprenticeship was a life-changing opportunity for young people, and praised the government for backing the system with a new scheme which aims to create two million apprenticeships by 2020 through a combination of a levy on big businesses and incentives for small firms.
“The government has woken up to the benefits of apprenticeships and vocational education,” he told the guests, all of whom have apprentices working for them.
Three hundred firms are already partners with the college, which as part of the University of Derby offers opportunities other further education establishments can’t.
Sue Lumb, of the Chatsworth Settlement, was presented with an award for supporting Level 2 and Level 3 students for the last ten years in cookery and craft bakery apprenticeships in the Chatsworth Estate’s pubs and restaurants. Chatsworth also took part in testing a new range of apprenticeships
Belle Engineering, of Sheen, has run an exemplary training experience in a long-standing relationship with the college, giving them a range of experience.
“Their approach has included supporting students through HNCs and have helped many students build careers,” said Len, presenting their award.
Buxton’s Serpentine Nursery received their award for supporting trainees and apprentices over many years. A number of staff are also completing Level 4, equivalent to a foundation degree.
Buxton beauty salon Face Facts won their award for being an excellent employer: “They have attended employer forums and supported learners to an outstanding level,” said Len. “They have formed part of judging panels at hair and beauty shows, attended employer forums and supported learners to an outstanding level.”
The College Construction Team recommended David Critchlow and his team from Oakland Carpentry of Leek for their award in recognition of their hard work and professionalism in supporting a student who, despite a difficult start, has now become a key member of their team.
Ashbourne hair salon Viva won their award for their long-standing work with the college. They currently have two apprentices.
“Viva offers excellent training,” said Len. “One of the learners has progressed from our 14-16 schools programme, where Viva supported the learner with work experience and realised the student’s potential.”