Students who have successfully completed Intermediate, Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships at Northern Powerhouse Partner Blackpool and The Fylde College, along with a number of leading employers have been recognised at the College’s annual Apprentice Awards event.

Top television and radio presenter Steph McGovern was the guest of honour at the ceremony held at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and she presented scrolls to each apprentice who had completed their course.

Known best today for covering business affairs on the BBC Breakfast show, consumer issues on Watchdog, and personal finance affairs on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Wake up to Money programme, Steph has a strong engineering background and at the age of 19 was named ‘Young Engineer for Britain’. She is a very vocal advocate of and supporter for apprentice training, saying at the event the “this is where the real brain’s of Britain are to be found!”
Fourteen apprentices had been nominated by their employer for the top award of Higher Apprentice of the Year. This went to 21-year-old Ella Penswick, who is studying a Level 4 Apprenticeship in Professional Accounting and Taxation. Ella works in the Finance Department at Blackpool Council and the nomination from her employer described her as always eager to learn new technical skills and having a positive attitude to work.
Through its commercial wing B&FC for Business, the College has links with over 1,800 firms and organisations across the North West, of all sizes and in a wide variety of employment sectors.

It forges close working partnerships with them to jointly create workforce development strategies that ensure that the college is delivering training and education to meet their needs and support their growth. This high level of collaboration was recognised at the Apprentice of the Year Awards with three awards to employers.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were joint recipients of the Employer of the Year Award in the large organisation category.

Jacqueline Higham, who received the award on behalf of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, commented: “We feel privileged to be working with a college that has an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating. The quality of the professional relationship that we have built up with the college is now enabling us to grow opportunities for students to advance further through work-based placements that support the college curriculum. It’s a perfect win-win situation!”

Blackpool building and property maintenance company Bambers Remedial Contractors Limited received the Employer of the Year Award in the Small to Medium Employer category.

Blackpool building and property maintenance company Bambers Remedial Contractors Limited received the Employer of the Year Award in the Small to Medium Employer category. Managing Director Dave Bamber said that the partnership with B&FC for Business provides his company with employees who have a high level of skill that really supports the growth of the business.

“It’s a good working relationship that works for all sides,” says Mr Bamber. “The apprentice, us as the employer, and the college as the training provider all gain from working together in the way that we do.”

The Employer Outstanding Contribution Award was made to the Vella Group. This leading UK vehicle repair group has both school-leavers undertaking apprenticeships and existing employees upgrading their skills across the entire range of vehicle repair and refinishing skills. All receive their training in the £10.8m Advanced Technology Centre at the B&FC Bispham campus, which is equipped with industry standard equipment and facilities.

Claire Jamieson, Business Development Director and head of B&FC for Business, said: “These awards highlight just how much employers can gain from partnering with us. Our unequalled range of courses covers a broad range of business, commercial and public sector activities from health to project management and automotive to nuclear engineering. Multi-million pound investments in our facilities and industry expert tutors ensure that we can deliver training to the highest current industry standards.”