Female learners stole the show at the annual In-Comm Training Awards held last Friday, taking the two main titles and winning six of the nine honours at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham.
Tia Till, an engineering apprentice at Shiftec, beat off competition from more than 100 young people and mature workers to win both Engineering & Manufacturing Technologies and the Outstanding Learner of the Year Awards, impressing judges with her manufacturing performance and desire to be the best in her field.
She was joined on stage by Libby Hastings of UK Architectural Antiques, who was successful in the Business Support and Most Improved Learner categories. The 20-year-old has overcome anxiety and low confidence to develop all the skills she needs to run the back office, a role she feels will make her mom proud.
Continuing the ‘Girl Power’ theme for the evening were Collins Aerospace’s Lucy Trow-Gladston (Leadership & Management) and Stormking’s Emma Devitt (Continuous Improvement), taking the plaudits for how they promote Apprenticeships at every opportunity and the positive difference they make on the shopfloor.
(l-r) Oliver Herrmann (Collins Aerospace), David Lunn (WH Tildesley), Elliott Geddes (Bedestone), Libby Hastings (UK Architectural Antiques), Tia Till (Shiftec), Lucy Trow-Gladston (Collins Aerospace) & Richard Deakin (Nant Group). Image courtesy of In-Comm Training.
Bekki Phillips, Chief Operating Officer at In-Comm Training, commented: “We’ve been working hard to get more girls involved in engineering and manufacturing…well tonight we’ve started to see the initial results of this and the creation of some real stars of the future.
“It has been over two years since we last held our Awards, so it was great just to get everyone back in a room together to celebrate everything that is good about vocational learning. Our apprentices, our mentors, our employers and, importantly, the trainers who equip our finalists with the skills they need to move forward.”
She continued: “Covid-19 has been really tough for every sector and companies could have pulled back on funding apprenticeships or upskilling. That would have been the easy, but wrong choice and I’m delighted that so many firms have remained committed to training in a bid to bridge skills gaps and, in more recent times, to solve a well-documented labour shortage.
“We have responded by delivering digitally throughout the pandemic and, more recently, adopting a blended approach to training – all geared towards minimising the impact on learners. Investment has also continued with new equipment at Aldridge and the move of the MCMT to a new facility in Telford, just in time for the launch of the Marches element of the Black Country & Marches Institute of Technology in December.”
More than 400 people were present at the ICC to celebrate the achievements of nearly 50 finalists at the In-Comm Training Awards 2021.
- Elliott Geddes (Bedestone Ltd) – Engineering & Manufacturing Technologies AMTC/MCMT Academy
- David Lunn (WH Tildesley) – Ambassador of the Year
- Nant Group – Small Employer of the Year
- Collins Aerospace – Large Employer of the Year
The evening also saw the life of Geoff Jones, the former Chairman of In-Comm Training, celebrated in front of his family, friends and former work colleagues.
‘Big Un’, as he was affectionately known, played a key role in the growth of the business after he and lifelong friend Colin Mills bought it in 1997.
Under their stewardship, the company has developed into one of the UK’s leading independent training providers, supporting more 750 apprentices and delivering 2000 courses every year.
Gareth Jones, Managing Director In-Comm Training, was delighted with how the celebrations went: “Dad loved these awards; the fact we all got together to promote and recognise vocational learning, sharing stories of how young people have made a difference or how older workers had retrained to learn a new skill. The conversations, the banter, the laughs, he loved it all.
“That’s why we thought what better way to remember Dad than with 400 other people, who share his passion for Apprenticeships, training and, importantly, manufacturing.
“It is quite fitting that this has been our biggest ever Awards evening and I feel that events like this should act as a real call to arms, showcasing the strength and brilliance of our industry and our apprenticeships, whilst giving people the chance to see what a career in our amazing sector looks like.”
The In-Comm Training Awards were made possible by headline sponsor the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) and other sponsors, including Black Country Chamber of Commerce, Black Country & Marches Institute of Technology, Collins Aerospace, Crowe, EAL, In-Comm Training & Manufacturing Group, Made in the Midlands and MyWorkwear.