Sunderland’s apprentices and those who employ them were put in the spotlight during an evening of celebration of their achievements.
The inaugural Apprenticeship Awards were launched by Sunderland College to recognise the achievements of apprentices and the commitment of the businesses and organisations who support them.
Prizes were handed out to eight apprentices and three employers at the ceremony, hosted at the college’s new City Campus.
The college works with 400 businesses and organisations to offer apprenticeship support and has trained 2,000 apprentices in a range of job roles in the last three years, in industries including engineering, manufacturing, health and care, finance, and digital and IT.
Charlotte Atkinson, 18, from Washington, won Education Apprentice of the Year and describes her apprenticeship as ‘life changing’.
Once a student at The Link School, a pupil referral unit and alternative education centre, Charlotte was invited back by her headteacher to become its first ever apprentice.
My apprenticeship has been the making of meCharlotte Atkinson, 18
She said: “I have been a member of staff at The Link School for two years and I am almost qualified as a teaching assistant.
“My apprenticeship has been the making of me.”
Eighteen-year-old Grace Cogdon, from Seaburn, who works as part of the work experience and apprentice team in City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, was crowned Professional Business Services Apprentice of the Year.
The Construction Apprentice of the Year award was presented to Steven Watson, 24, from Sunderland who is training to become a bricklayer with Gentoo.
He said: “I really enjoy my apprenticeship and feel like I have benefitted by gaining lots of new skills and knowledge.”
Robbyn Griffiths, who is employed by Physical Education & Active Kids (PEAK) and is currently working at Hetton Lyons Primary School, scooped Sport Apprentice of the Year.
The 17-year-old from Houghton said: “When I started the apprenticeship I was quite shy and held back during school activities, whereas now I am leading them myself and I have become much more involved than I was.”