Figures from across the county, dedicated to achieving or delivering top apprenticeships, have today (20 April) been announced as finalists for one of Oxfordshire’s most prestigious business award ceremonies, set to take place next month.
The shortlist for the seventh annual Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards has been released by organisers OxLEP Skills, with the event set to highlight outstanding apprenticeship talent and commitment.
A total of 36 finalists – including apprentices, businesses and representatives from several education providers – are now eagerly awaiting to hear if they have been named amongst the winners, which will be announced at a spectacular awards ceremony at Williams F1 Conference Centre in Grove on 18 May.
The awards will once again shine a light on apprenticeship successes from across Oxfordshire, bringing together young people, companies committed to apprenticeships and those driving-forward opportunities in Oxfordshire.
The awards will recognise work-based learning excellence across a breadth of sectors with the event also being broadcast live by OxLEP Skills on its website.
Oxfordshire saw a total of 3,730 apprenticeship starts and 1,440 apprenticeship achievements (or completions) of the qualification during 2021/2022. Higher apprenticeship achievements also increased by just under a quarter from the previous year, showing that apprenticeships remain a key ingredient within Oxfordshire’s labour force.
The Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards will spotlight the inspiring stories and people behind these figures, with the event being just one part of a host of interventions currently being led by OxLEP Skills.
It includes its Social Contract programme – a £1.7million programme of activity launched last year – with OxLEP Skills 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.
Funding for this programme was secured by OxLEP from the government’s Contain Outbreak Management Fund, via Oxfordshire County Council. So far, OxLEP Skills has secured over £500,000 worth of levy pledges from companies across Oxfordshire with more set to follow.
Ahead of next month’s awards, OxLEP’s chief executive has reflected upon the vital role of apprenticeships in Oxfordshire’s post-Covid recovery, for young people and businesses alike.
Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – said: “Much has happened over the past 12 months, with businesses continuing to adapt, diversify and explore new markets and new ways of approaching work in-light of the pandemic.
“Many have also looked to understand the benefits of apprenticeships even more and – as a local enterprise partnership – we have continued to champion apprenticeships strongly to our business community.
“Apprenticeships provide young people with the opportunity to gain new skills and on-the-job experience, whilst earning a fair wage and obtaining an industry-specific qualification.
“They each offer fantastic training opportunities to talented individuals and benefit businesses too, with new ideas helping companies to stay ahead of their competitors.
“The 2023 Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards are the perfect moment to not only celebrate individual successes, but also inspire young people and employers across the county to begin their apprenticeship journey.”
A full list of award finalists are as follows, selected by a business-led committee representing several key sectors:
Intermediate Apprentice of the Year
Sponsored by Milestone Infrastructure
- Cameron Bastable – Healthcare Support Worker Apprentice, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Timmy Blake Palace – Palace Maintenance Assistant, Blenheim Palace
- Joshua Read-Strahan – Apprentice Sports Coach, Ignite Sport UK
Advanced Apprentice of the Year
Sponsored by Abbott Diabetes Care
- Emilia Callaghan – Events and Hospitality Apprentice, Blenheim Palace
- Kelly Huggard – HR Coordinator, Blenheim Palace
- Cerys Massey – Clinical Services Administrator , Woodstock Surgery
Higher / Degree Apprentice of the Year
Sponsored by Oxford Professional Education
- Chez Bousfield – CAHMS Service Improvement Coordinator, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Wendy Matshazi – Learning and Development Lead, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Elliot O’Brien – Architectural Apprentice, Jessop and Cook Architects
Special Recognition Award
Sponsored by Hill
- Tiffany Hickman – Finance Apprentice, Blenheim Palace
- Jamie Kavanagh – Insight Analyst, Oxfordshire County Council
- Katie Sweet – Apprentice Technician, JDE Banbury
Rising Star Award
Sponsored by Blenheim and Pye Homes
- Lucy Parsons – Apprentice Finance and Accounting Technician, University of Oxford
- Fi Thomas – Commercial Procurement Apprentice, Oxford City Council
- Jasmine Williams – Spa Apprentice, Minster Mill, Andrew Brownsword Hotel Group
Shining Star Award
Sponsored by IST INTECH
- Jessica Aguirre – Trainee Claims and Inquests Officer, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Nairne Barker – Business Development Executive, Abingdon & Witney College
- Danielle Hoare – HR & Communications Officer, Nuffield Department of Women’s & Reproductive Health, University of Oxford
Apprenticeship Ambassador Award
Sponsored by Activate Apprenticeships
- Grace Dawson – EPA Coordinator, Explosive Learning Solutions
- Jamie Kavanagh – Insight Analyst, Oxfordshire County Council
- Grace Robinson – Apprentice Mechatronic Technician, JDE Banbury
Apprenticeship Employer of the Year (Less Than 250 Employees)
Sponsored by Assure UK
- FMB Oxford
- Oxfordshire Youth
- Williams Jet Tenders
Apprenticeship Employer of the Year (250 or More Employees)
Sponsored by Owen Mumford
- Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Oxfordshire County Council
- Taylor & Francis
Inspiring the Future Employer of the Year
Sponsored by Oxford North
- Explosive Learning Solutions
- Hill Group
- Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Careers Champion Award
Sponsored by The Engineering Trust
- Claire Christiansen – Careers Lead, Larkmead School
- Andrew Hemming – Assistant Head Teacher, Chilworth House Upper School
- Jackie Mustoe – Careers Lead and Exams Manager, Carterton Community College
Training Provider Individual Award
Sponsored by Oxfordshire Advanced Skills
- Emma Corless – Learning and Development Manager, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Iwona Elliott – Learning and Development Lead, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Sonia King – Pre-apprentice Training Co-ordinator, ACE Training
Other awards sponsors and supporters for this year 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
The Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards takes place on Thursday 18 May from 7pm – to watch the live event, go to: www.oxlepskills.co.uk on the evening of the event.
You can also follow the awards on social media via: #OAAwards2023.