Meet the judges for the inaugural North East Apprenticeship Awards, in partnership with Teesside University

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Meet the judges helping to recognise hardworking apprentices and the companies which inspire them.

NE Apprenticeship Awards 2023 NE Apprenticeship Awards 2023
NE Apprenticeship Awards 2023 | NE Apprenticeship Awards 2023

The awards celebrate and recognise the hardworking individuals and organisations involved in apprenticeships, and how they shape our future.

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Not only does winning an award mean recognition for the apprentice, but it’s also a major morale boost for the company and workforce that supports the apprentice.

Guests will enjoy a formal sit down meal, as well the awards themselves which promise to have you on your feet as we celebrate the Apprenticeship Stars of the North East.

The judging panel for the awards has now been confirmed, as well as the host and business success Katie Bulmer Cooke.

Fitness and property entrepreneur, Katie, is a former UK Personal Trainer of the Year, UK Fitness Professional of the Year and Wearside Role Model of the Year.

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Katie Bulmer-CookeKatie Bulmer-Cooke
Katie Bulmer-Cooke | Katie Bulmer-Cooke

Always remembered for her down to earth approach to all that she does, Katie also appeared on BBC1's The Apprentice, making it to week 10 of the show. 

Katie said: "It’s fantastic to have an event like this taking place in the northeast to celebrate those doing an apprenticeship and to shine a light on how successful we are as a region.

"I can’t wait to see everyone picking up their awards on the night."

Meet our judges

Ruth Chester - Head of Professional Apprenticeships

Ruth ChesterRuth Chester
Ruth Chester | Ruth Chester

Ruth works with industry partners to understand the current landscape in relation to regional and national skills gaps and where apprenticeships could be a solution in these areas. A key part of her role is driving forward the apprenticeship offer to ensure delivery of the right solutions for employers and industry.

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Before joining Teesside University, Ruth was a Workforce Development Adviser, managing an internal corporate apprenticeship programme, working closely with internal and external partners to deliver apprenticeship solutions. Ruth is passionate about apprenticeships as an alternative to the standard learning route, enabling employers and individuals to identify and develop talent through work-based learning.

Alan Wallace - North East Apprenticeship Ambassador Network

Alan Wallace.Alan Wallace.
Alan Wallace. | Alan Wallace.

Alan has been involved in Apprenticeships since 1986. He has had many roles in the private, voluntary and public sector. He headed up the Apprenticeship Service in the North East of England and was a member of the senior management team at the National Apprenticeship Service.

He passionately believes that apprenticeships when delivered will make a huge difference for both Employers and Individuals. Alan now supports the North East Apprenticeship Ambassador Network in promoting Apprenticeships to both Employers and Individuals across the region.

Nominations for the awards are still open.  Visit

 The closing date is Friday June 9, 2023.

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