THE work done by apprentices across York in 2018 was celebrated at an awards night.

Apprentices from across York graduated at the eighth annual apprenticeship awards ceremony at the Grand Opera House.

Apprentices received scrolls from The Guilds of York for completing their apprenticeship training and qualifications and proudly walked across the stage to loud applause from the 300 strong audience of family, friends and employers.

The ceremony included inspirational key note speeches from FERA Science Ltd, winner of the York Large Employer of the Year 2017.

Laura Faulkner, assistant scientist and apprentice graduate 2017 talked about her on-going career journey towards a degree apprenticeship with York St John University and Andrew Swift, CEX, talked about the importance of attracting, developing and retaining talent to support the growth of FERA.

Winners for five categories were selected by an independent panel following a high number of quality nominations.

Cllr Keith Aspden, executive member for economic development and community engagement, said: “This was a fantastic event celebrating the invaluable contribution apprentices have brought to organisations across the city.

“The numbers present showed the growth of apprenticeships in York and it was pleasing to see so many apprentices, their families and employers celebrate all these achievements."

Cllr Keith Myers, executive member for education, children and young people said: “This was a wonderful occasion to appreciate the growth in apprenticeships across the city and the brilliant opportunities on offer in York.

“A number of high quality nominations were received for the awards and I would like to congratulate everyone involved for their incredible work.”

The winners were:

York Apprentice of the Year 2018 – Under 25 (Smaller Employer)

Highly commended:

• Samantha Bartley – Sheryl’s Barber and Pink Hair; Level 2 Hairdressing supported by York College

• Sam Davison – North Yorkshire Business Education Partnership (NYBEP); Level 3 Business Administration & Finance supported by YH Training


Natasha Palmer - Digital Content Apprentice at Minster FM and has completed an Advanced Level 3 Digital Marketing qualification with 3aaas

York Apprentice of the Year 2018 – Under 25 (Larger Employer)

Highly commended:

• Charlotte Bell – City of York Council, The Speak Up - Children’s Rights and Advocacy Service; Level 3 Business Administration supported by York Learning


Calum Finn - Process Engineering Apprentice at Nestlé and has completed an Advanced Electrical & Mechanical Engineering qualification with York College

York Apprentice of the Year 2018 – Over 25s

Highly Commended:

• Emily Nicholson - Garbutt & Elliott LLP; Accounting Level 4 (Higher


Joey McNamara – Employer Engagement Administrator at York College and has completed an Advanced Level 3 Business Administration qualification at York College

York Assessor of the Year 2018

Andrea Grimbley – York College

York Employer of the Year 2018

Buckingham Group Construction Ltd

York Apprenticeship Ambassador of the Year 2018

Julia Massey, Learning City Partnership Manager, City of York Council

Apprentice of the Year – Under 25s (Larger Employer)

Calum Finn - Process Engineering Apprentice from Nestlé, who has completed his Advanced Level 3 Electrical & Mechanical Engineering qualification with York College.

Referred to as a rising star by his manager, Callum is the first person in the history of Nestlé’s Process Engineering Team to be promoted from an apprentice to an MES Engineer in the Factory. He always shows an exceptional attitude and as a result, his work far exceeds expectations.

Since Callum joined Nestlé he has helped improve many processes, including the development of a new program logic and control system for the tempering of chocolate. This was trialled on the chocolate tempering machines in the factory, increasing the temper chocolate quality index from 46.3% to an incredible 98.7%! This control standard is now being implemented in other Nestlé chocolate processing departments with great success.

He has also led many external and internal promotional events for apprenticeships, speaking at schools, colleges and more to encourage other young people to go down the apprenticeship route.

York Apprentice of the Year 2018 – Over 25s

Joey McNamara – Employer Engagement Administrator at York College and has completed an Advanced Level 3 Business Administration qualification at York College

Joey discovered late in his educational years that he had a number of learning difficulties, including dyslexia and dyspraxia. His attention to detail shines through going far beyond the requirements of an administrator. His determination and persistence to dig down to find the root cause of problems has been instrumental, especially as he provides solutions with the problems he discovers.

To aid apprenticeship assessors in their role, Joey has created an online portal for assessors on the college Black board which allows assessors to access the information, advice, guidance and paperwork of the college apprenticeship’s team when they are out in the workplace.

Joey has also created a calculator tool using Microsoft excel for assessors to work out the new 20% off the job training hours for apprentices. He has embedded this into the online portal which saves assessors, employers and apprentices significant time. This tool was praised by the college’s internal auditors for making the information very clear and concise.

Joey also acts as an apprenticeship ambassador at a number of external events in local schools. Promoting apprenticeships has been the icing on the cake for him. Feedback from school staff includes “he was brilliant! He got our students engaged from the word go and they were enraptured by his story. He had a very good relaxed style that really connected with the students. He told his personal journey to an apprenticeship very logically but with a lot of empathy and connection to the age of the students who were in year 11. He is a great ambassador for York College and Apprenticeships.”

Employer of the Year

Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd

Buckingham Group are currently building the York Community Stadium up at Monks Cross and, amongst other projects, built the London 2012 Olympic Handball Arena. Nationally, they have 450 employees and 50 apprentices, working in a wide range of jobs such as building, civil engineering, Quantity Surveying, Business Administration and Design Management, from level 2 all the way up to Level 7 Master Degree programmes. 

As part of the Community Stadium development, Buckingham have employed 3 local apprentices - 2 Technical Civil Engineers and 1 in Business Administration. In addition, they have delivered a “Build a Bridge to Schools” event at York High School, carried out various other school visits to promote careers in construction, have offered work experiences to College students and are working with City of York Council to offer a full day site experience as part of the first York Year 11 Apprenticeship Taster Day in January 2019.

Apprenticeship Assessor of the Year

Andrea Grimbley from York College

The panel were particularly impressed by the fact that Andrea was nominated by a student apprentice for being extremely “supportive and patient”. During challenging times Andrea helped her apprentice settle back into work and get their apprenticeship finished in time for graduation and talked with the employer about things the apprentice was uncomfortable talking about 1 on 1. The panel selected Andrea as the winner as she had been going the extra mile for her apprentices, even cancelling booked time off work to help an apprentice meet deadlines and provide additional support.