High Sheriff of Cheshire Enterprise Awards launch Apprenticeship prizes.

Posted on 10th March 2017

With National Apprenticeship Week 2017* now underway, the team behind the High Sheriff of Cheshire Enterprise Awards has revealed further details of two new prizes to be awarded at this year’s event, to be held on Thursday, March 23 at Chester Racecourse.

Lucy Brown, who is completing a degree apprenticeship at the University of Chester.
Lucy Brown, who is completing a degree apprenticeship at the University of Chester.

This year will mark the first time that apprenticeship schemes are honoured at the awards. High Sheriff of Cheshire Kathy Cowell has introduced the Apprenticeship Awards, with prizes being awarded for Best Business and for Best Individual, recognising the importance of apprenticeships to businesses in the region. The Organising Committee was delighted with the number and quality of the entrants, which reflects the quality of work done on apprenticeships in the region.

David Barlow, Director of Barlows (UK) Ltd, and an honorary graduate of the University of Chester, said: “The awards are designed to inspire both businesses and young people, creating a real buzz in their organisations. Both the apprentices and businesses represented at these High Sheriff's Awards have shown commitment and skill in order to reach the final. We wish the competitors all the best.”

More than 300 guests from businesses across the region are expected and this year’s guest speaker is John Amaechi OBE who is also CEO of Amaechi Performance Systems (APS), a leadership consultancy operating in Europe and the United States. 

The University of Chester is already ahead of the game when it comes to apprenticeships, being one of the first in the UK to take a new and non-traditional approach to gaining a degree by studying in the workplace. Its business degree apprenticeship sits within the University’s renowned work based learning framework, run by the Centre for Work Related Studies. It has been aligned with Institute of Leadership and Management professional qualifications, enabling learners to come away with an ILM Diploma at levels 4-6 and achieve Chartered Manager status. This combination gives a unique undergraduate offering in the UK for aspiring managers and leaders called the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, which launched at the University in September 2016. 

Jack Hudson at West of England Textiles Ltd, which has an office based in Chester, was one of the first local employers to be involved with the degree apprenticeship, and recruited Lucy Brown as an apprentice. He said: “I was looking for a young person to join the business and approached the University of Chester. Within a very short timescale they had helped me to write an advertisement, circulated this to their talent pool and on the National Apprenticeship Service and worked with their local schools to secure a range of applicants. They provided a credible shortlist and supported the interview process. The whole experience has been overwhelmingly positive and I would not hesitate to recommend this opportunity to any other employer seeking talent.”

Lucy Brown, from Nantwich, said: “The Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship programme has given me the opportunity to study for a highly-recognised degree and to gain experience in the workplace. To have the option to work in an industry that I have always wanted to work in has been ideal for me. I think that this course has given me a more rounded perspective of the roles and responsibilities of management as I am able to study it in theory but also see it work in practice. The course itself is incredibly accommodating and flexible in regards to a full-time working schedule and the University has been supportive of this. I would highly recommend this course for any student looking to gain experience and their degree.”

 Lisa Rowe, Director of Business Engagement and Partnerships at the University of Chester, added: “I am delighted that we have been able to match West of England Textiles Ltd with an outstanding candidate who has exceeded all of their expectations. Lucy and Jack are testimony to the value of degree apprenticeships, particularly for SMEs to grow their own talent. Jack has provided an exceptional learning opportunity for Lucy, who will be one of the first graduates in the country to graduate from this Degree Apprenticeship. We have a pool of over 50 applicants already and would be pleased to help other employers in identifying fresh talent or to up-skill existing employees.” 

To find out more about being involved with degree apprenticeships at the University of Chester, either as an apprentice or as a local business, please contact Lisa Rowe lisa.rowe@chester.ac.uk 01244 511252/ 07780 223136