The Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards 2022 recognised the best talent in the county with a special live-streamed event on Thursday 19 May, followed by an in-person celebration evening at Williams F1 Conference Centre on 26 May, where finalists were presented with their trophies.
The Apprenticeship Employer Award (<250 employees) recognises small and medium sized Apprenticeship employers in Oxfordshire that have exceeded normal standards and expectations in providing a high-quality Apprenticeship experience.
The 2022 award was won by Priory Cast Products, a foundry based in Kingham that has been owned and managed by Yunus Ascott and Eliza Higginbottom since 2018. Freemen of the prestigious Goldsmiths' Company, the pair bring their extensive background in jewellery, fine art and restoration to the business, whilst continuing to build on the foundry's reputation for quality detailed metal castings.
Yunus and Eliza are also passionate about providing opportunities to learn and bringing new skills into the industry, which led to them creating an Apprenticeship scheme and taking on their first Foundry Technician Apprentice in 2020, followed by a second shortly after, meaning that one-third of their six-strong team is comprised of Apprentices.
Eliza said: “Winning this is a great affirmation. We are proud of our Apprentices and all they are achieving and hope to take on many more! It's brilliant to partner with Dudley College and the National Foundry Training Centre. Thanks OxLEP for invaluable early days support and guidance, to Tor Lodge for maintenance grants supporting our Apprentices and GSK for the Levy transfer.”
The 2022 award was kindly sponsored by Banbury based chartered accountants and registered auditor Assure UK, who were themselves highly commended in this category in 2019.
Jade Brooker, Manager at Assure UK, judged the category. She said: “We chose Priory Cast Products because they are offering an Apprenticeship in an area which needs more growth. The support Eliza and the team provide to the Apprentices and opportunities they provide to people from all backgrounds is instrumental to their success and you can tell they really care. Eliza’s passion for the Apprenticeship scheme shone through when we met her, as well as her desire to give something back to the community. The opportunities the Apprentices are given at a small company will only contribute to their success further in order to help develop and grow the company.”
About the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards 2023
The awards will be open for entries and nominations until midnight on the evening of Friday 17 February 2023. Finalists will be announced during Oxfordshire Apprenticeships Hour (hashtag #OAHour) on Twitter @OxonApprentice from 13:00 on Thursday 20 April 2023. Winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony on Thursday 18 May 2023.
If you would like the opportunity to support the Awards, please get in touch.
Join us for Oxfordshire Apprenticeships Hour (#OAHour) on Twitter @OxonApprentice from 13:00 every Thursday for latest on the Awards and join in the conversation using the hashtag #OAAwards2023.