Best employers to be honoured

Posted on 18 Jan 2011 by The Manufacturer

The National Apprenticeship Awards 2011 are now open and this year there is an extra lure for employers competing for a share of the glory.

The annual National Apprenticeship Awards, orchestrated by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), began receiving submissions today for a new round of celebration of talent in English business and industry. These prestigious awards root out England’s best apprentices, and apprentice employers, and give recognition to the important contributions being made to the development of English vocational skills and competitive potential.

The National Apprenticeship Awards are open to apprentices and their employers in all sectors and this year NAS has partnered with City & Guilds to give added cachet to winning organisations. The 25 best performing employers in the categories of Small Employer of the Year, Medium Employer of the Year, Large Employer of the Year and Macro Employer of the Year, will be honoured in a list of England’s Top 100 Apprenticeship employers which will be published in the national press following the announcement of the award winners at a London-based ceremony on June 29.

Skills Minister John Hayes has placed himself squarely behind the 2011 National Apprenticeship Awards which he sees as supporting an important remit of strategic skills development aligned with real business needs and in the interests of lifelong learning. The minister says apprenticeships “encourage ambition and enterprise, and help drive economic and social progress.” While the awards themselves “offer a great platform for young people and employers to gain recognition not just for excelling in their chosen field, but for playing a leading part in that vital process.”

Historically apprenticeships have formed an integral part of the fabric of manufacturing in UK. However, representatives from industry have recently bemoaned a loss of standards and standardisation across apprenticeship frameworks. The National Apprenticeship Awards offer a chance to demonstrate what best practice in apprenticeship provision looks like for individual sectors and while also allowing individual excellence to shine through in the categories of Young Apprentice of the Year, Apprentice of the Year, Advanced Apprentice of the Year and Higher Apprentice of the Year.

While current economic conditions have made some employers cut back on apprenticeship provision and workforce training Simon Waugh, chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service encourages organisations to persevere in these projects: “The Apprenticeship Awards recognise the achievements of individuals engaged in training and the organisations that invest in them. Apprentices provide a real boost to Britain’s economy, helping businesses secure a supply of people with the skills and qualities often not available on the external job market. They bring fresh ideas and innovation to organisations and help to increase staff retention.”

With the maintenance and advance of industry skills being a very real concern for many manufacturing sectors in the UK the chance to do so in house, increasing the companies IP in terms of product, process and business practice must go a long way to balancing up-front training investment. Putting arguments like this forward for employers and showing the benefits of apprenticeships to parents and school children NAS is backing up its awards celebration with National Apprenticeship Week which will raise awareness about the business and career benefits to be reaped through apprenticeships.

To find out more about how to enter the National Apprenticeship Awards or about the numerous events planned for National Apprenticeship Week please visit or call 08000 150 600. Entries for the awards close on March 25.