Finalists for apprentice team of the year announced

After two months of tough competition between more than 90 teams from the country’s leading Apprenticeship employers, training providers and colleges, the finalists in the search for the apprentice team of the year have been announced by Skills Minister Matthew Hancock.

Two apprentice teams from Cumbria County Council narrowly missed out on a place in the final of the Brathay Apprentice Challenge, having competed in the competition for the past two months.

Despite the disappointment of not getting through, the teams have delivered valuable community projects to make a real difference to people across the county. In addition, the teams conducted many school visits to talk about what doing an apprenticeship means for young people and outlining how they can earn while they learn in a real job, gaining a real qualification and a real future.

Lynne Metcalf, workforce skills manager, said: “The dedication and teamwork shown by the apprentices is to their credit and an excellent example of the work and value placed on Cumbria County Council’s apprentices.”

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said:
"The apprentices taking part in the Brathay Apprentice Challenge have shown a huge amount of ambition, dedication and commitment and have demonstrated how apprentices deliver for their employers’ day-in, day-out. The finalists are an inspiration to any young person considering an Apprenticeship."

Luci Robb, senior human resources manager at Cumbria County Council, congratulated their apprentices and said: “Whilst it's disappointing that we were not successful in the final shortlisting. I think recognition is well deserved for both teams, in respect of the great work undertaken and outcomes achieved.”

Jaine Bolton, Apprenticeships Director at the National Apprenticeship Service, said:
“The Challenge gives apprentices the opportunity to shine and be recognised for the great contribution they make to their employers. Apprenticeships help businesses to grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce and the teams have already shown the dedication and skills we know will stay with them for the whole of their working life and lead them to grow professionally.”

Godfrey Owen, Chief Executive of organisers, Brathay Trust, said:
“The competition was really tough this year with over 800 individual apprentices competing and all the teams worked really hard to get to the finals. We are looking forward to the final stage of awareness raising and fundraising – and welcoming the finalists to Brathay in June.”

Representatives from Brathay Trust, British Chambers of Commerce and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills judged the regional heats along with Tim Campbell, founder of the Bright Ideas Trust and the Mayor of London’s Ambassador for Training and Enterprise.

John Wastnage, a judge from the British Chambers of Commerce, congratulated the finalists:“The teams who participated in the regional heats of this year’s Challenge should be extremely proud of their collective achievements in promoting Apprenticeships and serving their local communities.

“The British Chambers have always been evangelists for Apprenticeships and the Brathay Apprentice Challenge not only provides a development opportunity for the participants but also allows them to show their potential. This year’s finalists epitomise the skills, hard work and enthusiasm that employers in any sector can expect from an apprentice.

“I was particularly impressed by the teams’ detailed planning and their consideration of opportunities for work in the community to bring business benefits to their employer.”

Fellow judge, Simon Temperton, from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, said:
“The standard of community projects exceptional, there was clear evidence of teams really thinking about what they could do, to make a real impact, and in many cases the teams continued on after their planned project to carry out additional fundraising for the chosen projects. All of the teams should be proud of their achievements.”

Jolene Slack, also from the UKCES, added:
“Although only two teams from each region could go forward to the final, the combined benefit of entering the competition to both charitable organisations and their local communities is extremely valuable.”