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Norfolk’s apprentice of the year announced at inspirational apprenticeships event

12 March 2019

Apprentice Peter Savory was crowned Norfolk Apprentice of the Year at an apprenticeships celebration event on 7 March run by Apprenticeships Norfolk (an initiative from Norfolk County Council) and the University of East Anglia.

Supported by the Eastern Region Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network and Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach (NEACO), the competition was run to help celebrate National Apprenticeship Week (4-8 March) and entrants were asked to outline what their apprenticeship means to them and highlight any activities that demonstrate how they are an ambassador for apprenticeships.

Eight shortlisted entrants took part in an afternoon of activities and presentations at County Hall in Norwich on Monday 4 March. Richard Bridgman OBE, former chairman of Warren Services and strong advocate of apprenticeships, judged the competition alongside Natasha Waller, Skills Manager at New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

Cllr Stuart Clancy, Apprenticeship Member Champion for Norfolk County Council, said: “All the competition entrants showed themselves to be great ambassadors for apprenticeships. By celebrating the work that apprentices do, we can help to raise the profile of apprenticeships and this competition was a great way of doing that. It’s all about identifying and showcasing the tremendous breadth and depth of talent Norfolk apprentices have to offer.”

The judges were particularly impressed with 18-year-old Peter Savory, a Level 3 business administration apprentice, who is employed by Apprenticeship Training Agency TrAC and hosted by Norwich-based social enterprise The Missing Kind. Peter suffered from ill health throughout his time at school and, even though he managed to achieve the grades he needed, wasn’t sure that a classroom environment would be right for him to continue his education. The breakthrough came when he was referred to TrAC Apprenticeships Norfolk (TrAC AN), an ESF and Skills Deal funded project that gives specialist support to vulnerable young people by employing them as apprentices whilst they spend time in industry placements.

Through TrAC AN, Peter was put on a two-week work experience placement with The Missing Kind and was then offered a business administration apprenticeship with TrAC, hosted by The Missing Kind in September last year. As well as carrying out his day-to-day role, which includes looking after their social media channels, answering enquiries and helping to manage their tours, Peter also helps to promote apprenticeships to businesses and young people by speaking at business breakfasts and creating informative videos.

On winning the award, Peter said: “I’m really proud to win this award, especially as the other entrants were so inspiring. I wanted to be a part of Norfolk Apprentice of the Year not only to share my story, but to encourage other young people who may be experiencing similar issues or who haven’t explored the option, to seriously consider becoming an apprentice.

“It’s been so beneficial for me and both my physical and mental health. I know from experience how isolating, daunting and overwhelming the prospect of dealing with chronic illness, mental health and your future can be. Even if my story reaches one young person who’s struggling with similar issues, that’s enough for me. If it inspires someone to choose an apprenticeship route, that’s even better.”

The announcement of Norfolk Apprentice of the Year came at the end of an event held last week (Thursday 7 March) at the UEA’s Enterprise Centre and hosted by Prof Neil Ward, UEA’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor Academic.

It was a chance to hear from apprentices and those working to actively promote apprenticeships locally and nationally. Speakers included Cllr Stuart Clancy (Apprenticeships Member Champion, Norfolk County Council); Adrian Anderson (Chief Executive, University Vocational Awards Council) who spoke about the benefits to offering apprenticeships and the challenges on the road ahead to improving the delivery of apprenticeships nationally; and Chris Starkie (Chief Executive, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership). In addition, Stephanie Attew, a nursing apprenticeship at UEA, and Toni Kelly, a business analysis apprentice, talked about their apprenticeships experiences.

Host, UEA’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof Neil Ward, said: “It was great to see such a strong turnout to celebrate Norfolk apprenticeships. It’s significant that growing interest in apprenticeships was celebrated on a University campus.”

Kerry McConnell, Apprenticeships Operations Manager, said: “Apprenticeships mean you can ‘earn while you learn’, getting on-the-job experience while studying for a degree, with the employer covering the cost of the course. Lots of our apprentices tell us that they would never have studied for a degree and gone into the profession, without the opportunity to go down this route. Apprenticeships are opening doors for a lot of people.”

Anyone interested in becoming or employing an apprentice can find out more at www.apprenticeshipsnorfolk.org

Employers wishing to find out more about Degree Apprenticeships should contact Apprenticeships@uea.ac.uk

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