Businesses, apprentices and training providers from across Oxfordshire have just over 48 hours left to enter this year’s apprenticeship awards for the county, with organisers OxLEP calling upon potential contenders to highlight their incredible achievements from the world of apprenticeships.
Created and led by OxLEP Skills, the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards offers people and organisations from across the county the opportunity to showcase the positive role apprenticeships has had on them.
Now in its seventh year, the awards has become an established occasion in the county’s business calendar, seeing dozens of young people, businesses and training providers showcase their excellence in the field of apprenticeships.
Those looking to make a nomination for this year’s awards have until midnight on Friday (17 February, into 18 February) to complete the process and OxLEP Skills have called on willing participants to complete theirs as soon as possible.
Since its first event in 2017, the awards has created a significant platform to highlight the importance of apprenticeships to the Oxfordshire economy and its wider labour market, as well as the opportunities that such schemes can bring to young people and those looking to re-engage with employment opportunities.
Following a successful 2022 awards that engaged more businesses than ever before, the OxLEP Skills team launched this year’s celebration at OxLEP’s annual event at the Curzon cinema in central Oxford last November.
WATCH: OxLEP Annual Event 2022, including the launch of the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards 2023
This year’s Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards will take place on 18 May at the spectacular Williams F1 Conference Centre in Grove, with many key Oxfordshire business leaders set to attend the event.
Previous awards have taken place at venues including Jurys Inn Oxford and Blenheim Palace.
There are 12 categories available to apprentices, businesses and training providers with a thirteenth award – an overall apprentice of the year – announced at the awards night itself.
Below is a list of the 2023 award categories and their respective sponsors:
- Intermediate Apprentice of the Year – sponsored by Milestone Infrastructure
- Advanced Apprentice of the Year – sponsored by Abbott Diabetes Care
- Higher/Degree Apprentice of the Year – sponsored by Oxford Professional Education Group
- Special Recognition Award – sponsored by Hill
- Rising Star Award – sponsored by Blenheim and Pye Homes
- Shining Star Award – sponsored by Integration Technology Ltd
- Apprenticeship Ambassador Award – sponsored by Activate Learning
- Apprenticeship Employer of the Year (less than 250 employees) – sponsored by Assure UK
- Apprenticeship Employer of the Year (250 or more employees) – sponsored by Owen Mumford
- Inspiring the Future Employer of the Year – sponsored by Oxford North
- Careers Champion Award – sponsored by The Engineering Trust
- Training Provider Individual Award – sponsored by Oxfordshire Advanced Skills
Other sponsors for this year’s awards include; Darke & Taylor, The Fiona Wheeler Charitable Foundation, High Spec Composites, Oxford University Development, Ridge and Partners LLP, South East Apprenticeship Ambassador Network, Williams Racing and Popham Hairdressing.
Sally Andreou – Skills Hub Manager at OxLEP – said: “The Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards continues to offer apprentices, businesses and training providers a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the positive role apprenticeships has had on them either individually or collectively and we would encourage as many people and companies as possible to complete their nominations as soon as they can.
“Through the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards, we hope that we can help to show businesses the value of apprenticeships, as well as demonstrating that there has never been a better time to engage with them given the support and advice available to companies.
“The awards are just one part of our overall programme of activity that aims to see Oxfordshire leading the way in apprenticeship provision. Our wider work really complements this and can help to give businesses the guidance and boost they need to create or develop an apprenticeship scheme.”
The awards represents just one part of OxLEP Skills’ commitment to supporting apprenticeship provision in Oxfordshire.
Just this week, it announced its ‘door to more’ campaign – an initiative that aims to raise awareness of the support and schemes available to businesses accessing and unlocking currently unused funds to make more apprenticeships possible. It encourages Oxfordshire-based organisations to open their doors to apprenticeships to create jobs and develop specialist industry skills and talent to help strengthen the local economy.
The campaign aims to support its Social Contract programme – a £1.7million programme of activity launched last year – with OxLEP Skills also calling out to the over 220 Oxfordshire-based businesses currently paying an apprenticeship levy to either utilise it for their own training programmes or to support Oxfordshire’s small businesses through a levy transfer.
Sally Andreou added: “Given the amazing businesses that call Oxfordshire ‘home’, we continue to be extremely excited by what apprenticeship provision in the county can look like and grow to in the future.”
Another initiative made available to the county’s business community through the campaign is the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Grant Scheme.
The scheme is enabling employers to apply for a grant of up to £1,500 (or up to £3,000 in exceptional circumstances) on behalf of their apprentice – who must be Oxfordshire-based – to support their training through non-statutory items.
Businesses applying for the grant have used them on a variety of items including travel permits, IT equipment, driving lessons and an apprentice’s industry rated tools.