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 Higher / Degree Apprentice of the Year Award recognises outstanding individuals who are working towards, or have recently completed, an apprenticeship at Level 4 or above. It was won by Nicole Nielsen-Pike, Guest Services Supervisor at Blenheim Palace. Nicole started her career at Blenheim as a Level 2 Customer Services Apprentice and is now working towards a Level 6 Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship alongside her current role.
Nicole has volunteered to become a mental health champion, undertaking additional training and introducing measures to help staff to feel supported, which has improved team morale. She also an access champion, meaning that she works closely with local charities such as Young Dementia and Farmability to help ensure the site is accessible for everyone.
The award was kindly sponsored by Oxfordshire Advanced Skills, who offer high quality training for apprentice engineers and technicians at technology businesses in the Thames Valley.
Operations Manager Emma Johnstone, who judged the award, said: “It is clear to see the passion Nicole has for apprenticeships. She is a great advocate of the opportunities they provide, having been on one from leaving school and working up though the different levels. Nicole has achieved a lot during her apprenticeship and seeks to improve areas within the business, taking an active role in wellbeing as well as supporting other apprentices.”
In addition to winning the Higher/Degree Apprentice of the Year Award, Nicole was selected as joint winner of the Oxfordshire Apprentice of the Year Award alongside Jordan Davies, Engineering Apprentice at Abbott Diabetes Care, who won the Advanced Apprentice of the Year Award.
Nicole said: “When I won the awards, it felt so surreal. All the other finalists were amazing, I was very overwhelmed and speechless. It is a real honour to be recognised for my achievements.”
Since her double win, Nicole has become an OxLEP Apprenticeship Ambassador and has joined the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards committee to support with planning for the 2023 awards. She took part in a panel discussion at the launch of the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards 2023 at the OxLEP Annual Event on 1 November.
About the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards 2023
Nicole’s employer, Blenheim, are kindly sponsoring the Rising Star Award in 2023 with their partner Pye Homes, which is for apprentices who have completed less than 9 months of their apprenticeship but are already achieving great things.
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.