The contribution that Reaseheath College apprentices make to regional businesses was recognised at a glittering awards ceremony.
The event highlighted the achievement of 150 apprentices who had gained their qualifications at the Nantwich specialist college in the past year. It was held during National Apprenticeships Week, a celebration of the benefits that skilled apprentices bring to businesses and to the national economy by increasing productivity and providing workforce succession.
Reaseheath College is a leading trainer of apprentices throughout Cheshire and surrounding counties and also provides a valuable recruitment service for employers.
It has extended the delivery of its apprenticeship programmes across the East Midlands by acquiring DART Training, a specialist land-based training provider. Over 1,000 apprentices in land based industries are now trained by Reaseheath Training and DART.
The apprentices, who are in paid employment, receive academic training from college assessors and gain practical skills in the workplace. Although the majority are aged between 16 and 24, Reaseheath also offers adult apprenticeships for those aged over 25. Training programmes can start at any time of the year, and there are vacancies in a number of trades currently available.
Top honours of the awards ceremony went to Apprentice of the Year Sophie Bell, a Level 2 Business Administration apprentice in Reaseheath’s busy marketing department, and to Advanced Apprentice of the Year Ross Brownbill, assistant dairy manager for leading Cheshire farmer Richard Archer. Kate Rooke, a Preston based bull technician for Genus Breeding, was runner-up Advanced Apprentice of the Year.
All three were selected for their commitment to their studies, attention to detail at their workplace and for their outstanding contribution to their employers’ businesses.
Sophie, of Mow Cop, Stoke on Trent, a former pupil at Congleton High School, joined Reaseheath’s business support staff two years ago and has progressed onto her Level 3 apprenticeship. Her varied duties range from helping to organise the college’s course open days, public events and schools programmes to representing the marketing department at internal meetings.
She said: “I was very proud to receive this award. It’s nice to be recognised for working hard. My Grandad won ‘Apprentice of the Year’ 50 years ago, so I seem to be following in the family tradition!”
Ross, a former Royal Marine, has his sights firmly set on career progression and already helps to manage 700 dairy cows.
He said: “Although I’ve only been in the farming industry for five years, my apprenticeship prepared me well. I’ve gained a lot of practical experience through working for several farms and that, combined with sound academic training at Reaseheath, helped me to get a job with good prospects.”
Guest speaker at the ceremony was Barbara Hughes, a successful dairy farmer from Malpas who employs apprentices on the family’s 220 acre farm. She was joined on the podium by last year’s Level 3 agriculture apprentice of the year Adam Brown, 27, who works as an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) technician on Reaseheath’s demonstration AD plant and is also employed on his family’s dairy farm in Holmes Chapel.
The awards were announced by Reaseheath Training Manager Christine Middleton. Other principle winners were:
Best Agricultural Apprentice (Level 2): David Stoner, a stockman for FW Hughes and Sons dairy farm in Mold, North Wales.
Best Agricultural Apprentice (Level 3): Sam Blythe, who works for GF Blythe and Son, his family’s dairy farm on Dunham on the Hill near Helsby.
Best Level 3 Farmcare Apprentice: Kamil Peno, who works on a Farmcare fruit farm in Herefordshire. Kamil was one of six Farmcare apprentices to complete their Level 3 apprenticeship at Reaseheath this year.
Best Construction Apprentice (Brickwork): Ben Hardwick, a Level 3 apprentice who is employed by John Cliff Building Services of Market Drayton. John Cliff is a great supporter of apprenticeship training and all his current workforce have qualified through the programme.
Best Construction Apprentice (Joinery): Tom Spibey, a Level 3 student who is one of several apprentices working for RS Developments of Calveley.
Best Level 2 Equine Apprentice: Bethany Gerrard, a groom at Denstone Stud and Riding Centre, Uttoxeter.
Best Horticulture Apprentice: Jim Alley, a trainee greenkeeper with Delamere Forest Golf Club, who achieved his Level 2 apprenticeship in sports turf
Best Food Apprentice: Tom Jackson, a Level 3 trainee food technician with Appleby Creamery in Cumbria.
Certificates of Excellence:
Jack Vaughan (P Vaughan))
Peter Lofthouse (Tatton Park Gardens)
Luke Salter (Muller Dairy UK)
Certificates of Endeavour:
Ben McNulty (Nick McNulty)
Jack Bennison (Andrew Bennison)
Certificates for Outstanding Achievement:
Mark Marrow (Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council)
For more information on the apprenticeships offered at Reaseheath click here.