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 Training Provider Individual Award recognises colleagues working for organisations that provide apprenticeship training in Oxfordshire (colleges, universities, employer providers and independent training providers) who go the extra mile to support and encourage Apprentices and enable individuals to achieve to their potential. It was won by Stephen Whiting, Technical Training Assessor/IQA/Lecturer with BMW MINI Plant Oxford and Birmingham Metropolitan College.
In addition to performing his job at an exemplary level, Stephen demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to supporting each and every apprentice individually. Stephen discerns quickly each apprentice’s individual needs and moves efficiently to support them on an individualised basis. Stephen works closely with a range of apprentices from different backgrounds and of different levels and abilities and works with such integrity that each and every apprentice he works with receives the same fantastic individual support on their apprenticeship.
Stephen was diagnosed at the age of seven with dyslexia with reading, writing, visual and auditory process disabilities and was educated in a special school. He was determined to become an engineer and was offered the opportunity to become an engineering apprentice at the age of 16.
After 30+ years in the industry, Stephen wanted to go back into education and teach apprentices, especially learners who have disabilities who want to become engineers and to share his experiences to show them that anything is possible.
The Training Provider Individual Award was kindly sponsored by global leader in medical device design and manufacturer Owen Mumford. Human Resources Business Partner Karen Baker, who judged the award, said: “Stephen’s dedication to his learners was clear when we read the nomination information, but when we met him in person it was so humbling to meet someone who has used his past difficulties to build so many adaptable teaching styles that are obviously helping all his learners and therefore helping the employers that he is working with too. He gave us so many examples of how he goes above and beyond to help in technical support or pastoral care. Stephen is so deserving of this award.”
Stephen said: “When I was first informed that I was being nominated for the award, it was something that would never have thought would happen in my lifetime. When I was told that I had won the award, there were so many memories that went through my mind, which started as a young boy with dyslexia and the many hard and very difficult challenges and struggles I had with education, not being able to take exams when I left at 16. The other challenges - to be accepted in society and the workplace - because being neurodivergent in those days meant that you didn’t have the same opportunities rights as everyone else.”
“But since then, I have overcome these challenges which I use as my strength to help my learners (apprentices and those with learning difficulties) to succeed in their careers - to show and talk about my own journey and how I overcome my obstacles. For me it’s also about passing on my strength in skills-knowledge and experience as our apprentices are the futures of our engineering industry. As I always say to all of my apprentices in class or out in work placement - no matter what obstacles or challenges you have in your life you can overcome them like me!”
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.