An ambitious Bus and Coach Engineering Technician who is using his apprenticeship programmes to progress within his company took top honours at an apprenticeship awards ceremony held at Reaseheath College in Nantwich.

Hasan Girach, who works for First Bus, one of the UK’s largest regional bus operators, received the Principal’s Award at the glittering event.

The Principal’s Award is a prestigious accolade which recognises an outstanding apprentice who has made a substantial impact on their employer’s business and whose performance embodies Reaseheath’s core PRIDE values (People, Responsibility, Integrity, Diversity and Excellence).

As well as taking the top title, Hasan also won the Transport Engineering Apprentice of the Year award for his positive approach to learning and for the exceptional quality of his work. As well as achieving distinctions in practical tasks within his End Point Assessment, he was runner-up Coach Builder Apprentice in last year’s national IRTE (Institute of Road Transport Engineers) Skills Challenge and also worked collaboratively with Reaseheath’s curriculum team to support development of the First Bus apprenticeship programme.

He has now moved onto a Level 3 Team Leader apprenticeship, also delivered by Reaseheath, which will support his progression into a supervisory role within First Bus. His ambition is to develop his career within First Bus and in the future to become an engineering director.

Hasan, who has worked for First Bus for four years and is based at the Leicester depot said: “My Bus and Coach Engineering Apprenticeship gave me a fantastic introduction to the industry. It has a strong practical element so you quickly learn how to apply the knowledge you’ve learned in the classroom.

“Engineering is a very exciting sector with a lot of career potential, particularly with the move towards sustainable transport. The Leicester depot is about to become one of the first fully electric hubs in the country so you feel you’re at the cutting edge of technology.”

Finalists in the Transport Engineering Apprentice of the Year were Sophy Smith, also from First Bus, and Calum Allport, a Rail Engineering Technician with Alstom.

Sophy was the first female apprentice to achieve the Level 3 Bus and Coach MechElec Engineering Apprenticeship at Reaseheath. She is now a full time electrician with First Bus and is progressing her training to ensure she remains at the forefront of the many advancements within the industry. She hopes to become a Master Technician with the company.

Calum is a highly capable young professional who was the first in his cohort to complete both knowledge and competency qualifications within his company’s bespoke apprenticeship programme for rail engineering technicians.  He has a strong and adaptable work ethic which will ensure him future success in the progressive rail industry.

First Bus and Alstom apprentices are based at Reaseheath’s dedicated Engineering Apprenticeship Academy. The apprenticeships run over three years, with apprentices dividing their time between block release study at college and mentorship from experienced colleagues at their workplace.

The Principal’s Award was sponsored by Rookery Hall Hotel & Spa, Nantwich, while the Transport Engineering Apprentice of the Year was sponsored by Bidlea Dairy, Crewe.

Other winners and finalists at the Apprenticeship Awards were:

Food & Drink Apprentice of the Year (sponsored by Arla UK)


Joshua Jones – Business partner, Kelsmor Dairy

During his degree level apprenticeship in dairy technology (Eden programme), offered solely through University Centre Reaseheath, Joshua gained invaluable technical skills and practical experience which enabled him to enhance the ice cream production and processing practices within his family’s business in Hereford. He spearheaded investment into a new dairy which has greatly benefitted the business.


  • Alfie Artell – Food and Drink Process Operator, Encirc
  • Debrah Shone – Baker, University of Chester

Land and Environment Apprentice of the Year (Sponsored by KRONE UK)


Thomas Gray – Farm technician, R & JA Bayley

A highly valued team member at his employer’s dairy farm, Tom’s successful apprenticeship has resulted in him gaining a permanent position and has also delivered significant benefits to the business.

Initially in charge of calf rearing, Tom consistently achieved excellent results due to his impressive care, conscientious observations and meticulous record keeping. His employers are committed to developing his abilities, ensuring great prospects for future.


  • Anna Holland – Veterinary Nurse, Pool Farm Veterinary Practice
  •  Fiona Brunning – Veterinary Nurse, Gatehouse Veterinary Centre
  •  Harvey Clapton – Stockperson, P Hickson & Partners

 Land-based Service Engineering Apprentice of the Year (Sponsored by Dawson Group)


Joseph Stewart

Engineering Technician, G W Stewart

Beyond his technical skills and outstanding work ethic, Joe has excelled as a patient and inspirational leader while mentoring younger apprentices and colleagues.

A confident and competent engineer, he has seamlessly integrated the knowledge and technical skills acquired during his apprenticeship into his workplace duties, demonstrating adaptability and a commitment to continuous growth. His employers are extremely proud of his achievements and are delighted with the valuable contributions he makes to the success of their business.


  • Tom Bainbridge – Engineering Technician, C R Willcocks & Co
  • William Moorcroft – Engineering Technician, John Sutch Cranes

Construction Apprentice of the Year (Sponsored by JCB)


Connor O’Brien

Site Carpenter, Persimmon Homes

A promising professional with a bright future ahead, Connor maintains a high standard of performance both in his professional role and in the college learning environment. Site managers and colleagues are impressed by his attitude and achievements at such a young age, and he is respected throughout his organisation.

Connor hopes to become a construction site manager in the future.


  • Christopher Forshaw – Advanced Site Carpenter, S R Elliott Build & Glaze
  •  Patrick Ithell – Site Carpenter, Hurst Joinery

 Business and Professional Apprentice of the Year (Sponsored by Bentley Motors)


Christopher Reed

Learning and Skills Teacher, Reaseheath College

An outstanding Course Manager and Lecturer within our Countryside department, Chris is dedicated to his own personal and professional growth as an educator.

He successfully completed his apprenticeship with Distinction, a well deserved recognition of his resilience in managing the daily pressures of his college role alongside his coursework.

Functional Skills Apprentice of the Year (Sponsored by Bentley Motors)


Ben Shaw

Golf Greenkeeper, Wallasey Golf Club

An exceptional mature apprentice with a strong commitment to self improvement, Bent excelled at his maths and English functional skills. Beyond these personal achievements, he also played a crucial role in fostering a positive learning environment among his apprentice peers.


  • Stephen Wood – Horticulture Operative, The Trentham Estate
  •  Terrence Rochester – Engineering Technician, Ardent Hire

One of the country’s leading apprentice trainers, Reaseheath currently trains 788 apprentices within the land based industries and works in partnership with hundreds of large, medium and small employers.

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