Awards celebrate the cream of apprentices
THE success of young people embarking on a wide variety of careers was celebrated at Exeter College's annual Skills Awards.
The ceremony took place at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum during National Apprenticeship Week.
Parents, employers and guests visiting the college from Germany and China were among the audience as the 2012 Apprentices of the Year were honoured.
Principal Richard Atkins said: "Apprenticeships are a great way to train and everybody here knows that getting work-ready skills is important.
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"I started my working life at Harrods in London, going on day release to college to do vocational qualifications. I feel that experience and grounding in vocational qualifications has stood me in fantastic stead throughout my working life.
"Apprenticeships are a brilliant way to prepare for work and a good foundation for a successful career."
Guest speaker Paul Burton, acting editor of the Express & Echo, recalled his own time as an apprentice on a weekly newspaper in Weston-super-Mare, saying: "I count that time in my life as the part where I learned the most."
He added that apprentices were marked out by their willingness to work hard and learn quickly.
"If you have the ideas and the commitment, we can go some way to teaching you the rest," said Paul. "So from an employer's point of view, apprentices are absolutely invaluable."
Helen France, head of business development for the National Apprenticeships Service southern region, encouraged the award winners to go on developing their skills as they progress in their careers.
"This may feel like the end of something but in fact it's just the start of something," she said. "Celebrate the success of this evening, but it doesn't stop now. The pathway is opening up before you."
There was a bittersweet moment for the Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton when they collected the Employer of the Year award. The venue recently closed after going into administration.
Intermediate plumbing Apprentice of the Year Karl Boston, of Element Plumbing and Heating, was singled out for praise as he was presented with a City & Guilds Medal of Excellence.
The following students were also named Apprentices of the Year in their chosen fields:
Chris Chapman – Intermediate IT Practitioners
David Oxenham – Intermediate Activity Leadership
Sam Charters – Advanced Electrotechnical
Adam Clark – Intermediate Trowel Occupations
Joseph McMurray – Advanced Engineering Maintenance
Richard Mitchell – Intermediate Light Vehicle Maintenance & Repair
Sam Willoughby – Intermediate Heavy Vehicle Maintenance & Repair
Elliot Jeffery – Intermediate Professional Cookery
Hannah Bonner – Intermediate Hairdressing
Georgia Bays – Advanced Children & Young People's Workforce
Ellie Hatcher – Intermediate Health & Social Care
Charlotte Burton – Intermediate Technical Theatre
Emily Moore – Intermediate Supporting Teaching & Learning in Schools
Joshua Taylor – Intermediate Carpentry
Christopher Parkhouse – Intermediate Driving Goods Vehicles
Matthew Walker – Intermediate Vehicle Body Repair.