A dog trainer and the manager of an animal feeds shop took the top titles at a Reaseheath College awards ceremony which turned the spotlight on apprenticeships and traineeships.

Sian Howells, 24, who works for WKD Trained Dogs in Stone, Staffordshire,  was crowned ‘Intermediate Apprentice of the Year’ while Katie Stanley, who runs Prince Farm Feeds in King’s Bromley, Rugeley, was awarded ‘Advanced Apprentice of the Year’.

Sian, a Level 2 Animal Care apprentice, and Katie, a Level 3 Agriculture Apprentice, were among 156 Apprentices and Trainees who have completed their qualifications at the Nantwich, Cheshire, specialist college in the past year.

Reaseheath marked the occasion with an awards ceremony during National Apprenticeships Week, a celebration of the benefits which apprentices bring to businesses and to the national economy by increasing productivity and providing workforce succession.

Engineering Apprentice of the Year was Liam Abbotts, one of 13 apprentices currently on or about to start their programme with Bombardier Transportation in Crewe, while Best Vehicle (Parts, Sales and Marketing) Apprentice was Antony Hempstead of Chandlers Farm Equipment, Grantham.

Also selected for special awards were Best Agriculture Apprentice Sam Jones of Ellesmere Port, who works as a calf rearer for G J Willis of Cholmondeley; Best Equine Apprentice Dominic Eccleston, a groom and eventer with Bazaars Stud in Stafford and Best Food Apprentice Stuart Palin, a trainee butcher who is now the owner of Stuart Palin Butchers in Crewe and employs two apprentices.

Best Construction Apprentice (Brickwork) was Connor Whitney, an employee of NTC Building Ltd in Congleton, Best Construction Apprentice (Joinery) was Adam Cooper of MAC Joinery and Building Services in Nantwich while James Lewis of MSL Contracts, Stockport, took Construction Apprentice of the Year.

An award for Traineeship Achievement went to Latisha Woolley, a sports turf apprentice with Malkins Bank Golf Club, Sandbach.

A new Employer of the Year award went to Craig Hallworth of Hallworth Construction Cheshire Ltd. The Northwich based business has worked in partnership with Reaseheath Training for ten years and supports many apprenticeship opportunities for young people in its local community.

Best Horticulture Apprentice was James Alley, a greenkeeper with Delamere Forest Golf Club. James joined guest speaker Tony Lavelle, a dairy farmer and apprentice employer from Three Lanes End Farm, West Kirby, on stage to make a presentation to a packed audience of apprentices, employers and families.

Opening the ceremony, Reaseheath Vice Principal Dave Kynaston emphasised that the college is a leading apprenticeship provider in land based and allied industries, supporting over 1,500 apprentices, and with a success rate which is 13% above the national average.

While Reaseheath was currently operating apprenticeships at Levels 2, 3 and 4, it is working in partnership with the University of Chester to offer new apprenticeships at Levels 6 and 7 – the equivalent of a degree.

Other apprentices to be commended during the evening were:

Certificates for Excellence:

Thomas Oulton (Agriculture – J E Oulton)

Peter Crimes (Agriculture –  D A Platt and Partners)

Certificates for Endeavour:

Bethany Hamer (Gauntlet Birds of prey Knutsford )

Adam Kingston (Traineeship)

Certificates for Outstanding Achievement:

Andrew Sharpes (Construction  –  Conran Homes Ltd)

 For further details of apprenticeships visit our apprenticeship webpages or call Reaseheath Training on 01270 613221