Salford City College celebrate apprentices and employers on #NationalApprenticeshipWeek

19 March 2019

“This is without a doubt my favourite event of the year. Not only is it a great opportunity to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our apprentices, but it is also the perfect opportunity to show our appreciation for the continual support and commitment we receive from our partner employers.” Allan Milne, Head of Apprenticeship and Business Development, opened the Salford City College Annual Apprenticeship Awards on Thursday 7 March, during National Apprenticeship Week, by expressing his adoration for the occasion.

(Host: Allan Milne, Head of Apprenticeship and Business Development)

Some of the college’s most talented apprentices, most dedicated employer clients, special guests and staff, gathered on National Apprenticeship Week at FutureSkills at MediaCityUK, part of Salford City College, for a night of excitement, entertainment and inspiration.

Apprentices from across the City and beyond were recognised at the event from each of the sectors the college delivers apprenticeships in. Employers were able to nominate apprentices and the college’s own expert judging panel whittled down the winners from those put forward, to these nine, successful individuals:

Award Winners

Building Services Apprentice of the Year:
Joshua Hodkinson, Seddon

“This apprentice has demonstrated a work ethic beyond expectations.”

Business and Professional Apprentice of the Year:
Charlotte Bibby, Davenports Group

Her kind-hearted nature and willingness to always help cemented her as key figure within the organisation.”

Childcare, Early Years and Education Apprentice of the Year:
Danielle Woods, Dee Mac Childcare Limited

She has proven herself to be an exceptional member of staff, an integral part of the team and an inspiration to her colleagues.”

Construction and the Built Environment Apprentice of the Year:
Jake Noakes, Utilities Design and Planning Ltd

 “An exemplary full-time employee who has impressed everyone within the company with his enthusiasm and his limitless appetite to learn.”

Creative and Digital Media Apprentice of the Year:
Abigail Henstock, Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

This apprentice has embraced every opportunity given to her. She has really raised the bar for any future apprentices joining the team or organisation.”

Hair and Beauty Apprentice of the Year:
Rebecca Jones, Hairways

“It was the determination, passion and drive to become a qualified hairdresser that has secured this next winner this award.”

Health and Social Care Apprentice of the Year:
Yusuf Khalifa, Premier Care

“He is pleasant, polite and is highly regarded by his employer, peers and all those he comes into contact with.”

Hospitality and Catering Apprentice of the Year:
Rebecca Garvey, Salford City Council, Citywide Services

“She is an exemplar cook, dedicated, enthusiastic and always willing to adapt to change. Customers are at the forefront of all she does and she is a really deserving winner of this award.”

Leadership and Management Apprentice of the Year:
Thomas Smalley, Seddon

“There is no edge or ego with this apprentice. He comes to work and does an amazing job. He learns from everything he does, whether that be on site or in the classroom.”

Allan said: “This is possibly the most important part of the evening. Celebrating the talent, accomplishments, enthusiasm and dedication of our own apprentices.

“The individuals who have walked away with awards tonight are the best of the best. They have all demonstrated something exceptional, whether that is very special talent, incomparable hard-work, or if they have achieved something extremely special.”

From the apprentice award winners, one overall winner was selected with this individual being labelled by judges as having ‘undeniable commitment to learning and progression’. They said he is ‘proactive’ and his overall development has been described as ‘outstanding’ by his employer.

It was Thomas Smalley, from Seddon, who was crowned Overall Apprentice of the Year.

(Overall Apprentice of the Year, Thomas Smalley with Debbie Ward, centre,  and Nic Hutchins, left)

But, it wasn’t just apprentices being celebrated at the event, it was the employers too. Allan said: “Around 400 local, regional or national organisations employ one or more Salford City College apprentices. The vast majority of those provide a great environment for our apprentices to develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need to be successful in their chosen careers.

“These employers have shown commitment and dedication to their apprentices above and beyond the norm.”

There were four employer award categories, and the winners were:

Employer Awards

Small – Medium Employer of the Year:
Kids Around the Clock

This company has been supporting apprentices from across the region since 2004.”

Medium Employer of the Year:  
J.Fletcher Engineers Ltd

 This business prides itself on employing local people and ensuring that all apprentices progress into full-time, permanent employment, with a proven 100% track record of this.”

Large Employer of the Year (Public Sector):
Salford City Council

 “They have staff development at the forefront of all they do. They offer staff the opportunity to undertake a wide variety of apprenticeship programmes, all to improve their skills and excel in their career.”

Large Employer of the Year (Private Sector):

“This company a long and well-known association with apprentices. They have employed well over 3000 in their history and currently have around 60 apprentices with their company. The vast majority of whom study with Salford City College.”

Other awards on the night included Trainee of the Year, which was awarded to John Kitoko from Connolly Ltd. John was awarded for his incredible success on the Build Salford Traineeship, which eventually led to him being offered a full-time apprenticeship.

Allan said: “This award is about recognising trainees who have gone above and beyond the norm to change their life for the better. Traineeships are for those people who are not yet ready for an apprenticeship. They seek to support 16-24 year olds with the skills and knowledge they need to first secure an apprenticeship and then secondly thrive when they do so.

“The winner of this award can be described simply as an inspiration. He joined Connolly under the Traineeship and soon became a real character on site. He thrived and made such an impression on Build Salford that in August 2018 he was offered a full-time apprenticeship with the company.”

(John Kitoko with Debbie Ward, left, and John Jordan, centre) 

The Sector Based Work Academy Award was another and presented to Paul Smith, Clinical Support Worker at The Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. The Sector Based Work Academy is a partnership between the college and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust which aims to get people back into employment and into the health and social care sector.

The final award was the Outstanding Contribution Award. This went to John Jordan from Salford City Council for his dedication to apprenticeships, education and more specifically his work on Build Salford, as coordinator. John has been responsible for helping multiple young people get into apprenticeships and full-time education, many of whom had nowhere else to turn, but, thanks to Build Salford, had managed to turn their lives around.

Multiple speakers and presenters took to the stage at the event including Debbie Ward, Head of Apprenticeships and Partnerships at Salford City College, Nic Hutchins, Principal Skills Manager for Apprenticeships at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Jon Corner, Chief Digital Officer for the City of Salford, and Councillor John Walsh from Salford City Council.

The Pendleton Contemporary Choir also performed, as did creative music student, Megan Wroe.

(The Pendleton Contemporary Choir) 

If you want to be one of next year’s Salford City College Apprenticeship Award Winners, whether you are looking for an apprenticeship or to hire an apprentice, then contact the Salford City College team on 0161 631 5555 or by emailing

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