Aerospace apprentices off to flying start
July 2008 – Sector received further praise as engineering apprentice Rachel Freestone is Highly Commended Young Apprentice of the Year
The aerospace and engineering sector was strongly represented in the national Apprenticeship Awards with two apprentices out of 12 finalists across all sectors recognised for their outstanding achievement.
BAE Systems apprentice Rachael Hoyle was crowned Advanced Apprentice of the Year and Rachel Freestone was highly commended in the Young Apprentice of the Year category.
Now in their fifth year, the Learning and Skills Council’s Apprenticeship Awards are designed to recognise employers who are successfully using Apprenticeships to improve business performance and the key role apprentices play in today’s business world, spanning the breadth of the economy from accountancy, engineering, construction and veterinary nursing.
Rachael Hoyle, 21, competed her Advanced Apprenticeship in Aerospace Engineering. Rachael has since secured a full-time position in the Structural Engineering department at BAE Systems.
Rachael says: “I looked into Apprenticeships and other courses, and what clinched the Apprenticeship for me was the fact that I could go and begin a career, learning from people who are experts in their own right. I felt I could get involved in real work while applying my favourite subjects, like physics and maths, and continuing to learn.”
The four Employer Award categories seek to celebrate employers’ commitment to developing their workforce through Apprenticeships. Businesses were judged on criteria that include their commitment to training, the range and diversity of Apprenticeships on offer, the future training of their apprentices and demonstration of the way Apprenticeships have benefited their business.
Speaking at the event, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, John Denham urged the nation to get behind Apprenticeships:
“Over the past decade we have more than doubled the number of young people and adults starting Apprenticeships, spanning the breadth of our economy from accountancy to engineering, construction to veterinary nursing.
“But we plan to do more. In the next decade all qualified school leavers will have the right to an apprenticeship. It will become a typical choice for young people and adults – at the same time ensuring that businesses get the vital skills they need.
“Apprenticeships are at the heart of the country’s economy. They unlock England’s talent and are the key to our future prosperity.
“I congratulate every employer and apprentice who has taken part in these awards. They are testament to what can be achieved by putting skills centre stage. Their determination is exemplary and should act as an inspiration to anyone who wants to learn new skills and not only increase their own prospects, but those of the economy as well.”
Stephen Gardner, Director of Apprenticeships, Learning and Skills Council says:
“The commitment and foresight of all these exceptional employers is tremendous, not only in improving their business performance but also in giving talented people the opportunity to achieve their goals.
“If our businesses are to compete in a global market, we must address skills shortages at home. The Apprenticeship Awards truly celebrate the range and depth of skill, enthusiasm and dedication across so many industries. These Awards make plain the contribution that UK businesses are making to raise skills levels and improve productivity and competitiveness nationally. The quality of entries for this year’s Awards was astounding and not only these excellent winners, but all the finalists deserve to be recognised for making it through to this stage. ”
This year’s Awards attracted a record number of entries, with almost 1,400 individuals and companies all over England vying to be named Apprentice or Employer of the Year at this evening’s ceremony.
To find out more about Apprenticeships, visit apprenticeships.org.uk or call 08000 150 400.