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28th November 2018

York College almost swept the board at the York Apprenticeship Graduation & Awards Ceremony 2018, winning three out of four Awards and achieving a Highly Commended in the fourth. 

York Apprenticeship Graduation 2018 Group Photo 1WEB

The event, held at York’s Grand Opera House, recognised the achievements of young people, adults and employers in the city, and included inspirational key note speeches from FERA Science Ltd, winner of the York Large Employer of the Year 2017.

Apprentices who completed their qualifications and training this year were presented with a certificate by The York Guilds, and special Awards were presented in five different categories:

 York Apprenticeship Award winners 2018 

Apprentice of the Year Under 25 (Small Employer)

Winner - Natasha Palmer (Minster FM)

Highly Commended - Samantha Bartley (Sheryl’s Barbers & Pink Hair) 

Samantha won this Award as part of her Level 2 Hairdressing apprenticeship with York College.

Samantha BartleyWEB


Apprentice of the Year Under 25 (Large Employer)

Winner - Calum Finn (Nestlé)
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, Calum 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 Calum 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.

W Calum FinnWEB

 Highly Commended - Charlotte Bell  (City of York Council)  


Apprentice of the Year Over 25

Winner - Joey McNamara (York College) 
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.”

 Joey McNamara WEB

 Highly Commended - Emily Nicolson (Garbutt & Elliott LLP)


Apprenticeship Assessor of the Year 

Winner - Andrea Grimley (York College) 
Andrea has worked as an Assessor in the Business & Hospitality Division at York College for the last two years.

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.

Assessor - Andrea GrimbleyWEB

(Andrea Grimbley)


York Employer of the Year  

Winner - 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.

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 nominations showed the richness and diversity of apprenticeship talent in York, highlighting how apprenticeship training is supporting the career development of both new recruits and existing staff as well as the growth of York businesses, both large and small.”

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