Dorset top apprentices were hailed for their determination, talents and commitment when they took centre stage in new awards.
They were named as winners at the county’s inaugural Apprentice of the Year Awards at a ceremony with dignitaries including the Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset.
Dorset Chamber joined forces with the Dorset and Somerset Training Provider Network and sponsors manufacturing firm Superior Seals for the initiative celebrating the contributions of apprenticeships to business.
The winners were:
• Intermediate Apprentice of the Year: Ellie Edmonds (ABP Food Group, Yetminster)
• Advanced Apprentice of the Year: Cameron Hearn (Frettens Solicitors)
• Higher and Degree Apprentice of the Year: Rebecca Buck (Dorset Council)
They claimed the honours from a 12-strong shortlist of finalists when the awards were presented at Superior Seals in Ferndown.
Dorset Chamber chief executive Ian Girling said: “This was a tremendous celebration of the value of apprentices to our businesses.
“Ellie, Cameron and Rebecca were all very worthy winners who have all demonstrated exceptional determination, talent and commitment to succeed.
“They can be very proud of themselves for their achievements and for representing the excellence which so many apprentices show on a daily basis in our county.”
Ian added: “It was an inspirational event and a great way to start the new Apprentice of the Year competition.
“My thanks go to the Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset, all of the apprentices and business who entered and everyone else who supported the awards and made them such a success.”
Tim Brown, managing director of Superior Seals, welcomed guests to the ceremony at the company’s Superior Seals Academy.
The Lord-Lieutenant Angus Campbell performed the honours after a celebratory lunch. Guests included finalists, businesses, Dorset Council leader Cllr Spencer Flower and Cllr Toby Johnson, who is BCP Council’s lead member for levelling up and skills.
HR co-ordinator Ellie is taking an apprenticeship in business administration. She runs the Youth Ambassadors of ABP across the company to help make the industry more appealing and accessible to young people aged 16-24. She is also the southern England regional leader for the company’s new female talent community called ‘ABP SHE’.
Cameron is a digital marketing apprentice and has made a tangible difference to Frettens Solicitors through digital content and social media. His efforts have attracted new visitors to the company’s website and social media, and led to tens of thousands of pounds of new revenue.
Rebecca Buck is Dorset Council’s first solicitor apprentice. She juggles her job and training with a family and two young children in Dorchester. The apprenticeship route has given Rebecca the opportunity to continue to work while studying without facing university fees. She has a study day a week and then fits the rest into evenings after her children are in bed.
The awards were free to enter with entries invited from apprentices and their employers.