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College rewards Employers, as Staff say a big “Thank You”

Eastleigh College’s Training Ambassador Awards highlighted and rewarded five Hampshire employers for their commitment to staff development, following nominations from their own employees. The awards, which rounded off National Apprenticeship Week, which recognised commitment to outstanding employee development, were presented by Caroline Nokes MP during a ceremonial lunch at the College’s Red Carpet Restaurant.

The University of Southampton, Blake Lapthorn Solicitors, InTandem Systems Ltd, Prysmian Cables and Systems Ltd and Queens Terrace Dental Practice were all selected by the College’s senior management team from over 100 student submissions, as employers who go beyond the call of duty to promote and invest in learning and development.

The first award of the day was the Local Employer of the Year award which was presented to Hampshire based solicitors, Blake Lapthorn, after they were nominated by Danielle Foot, an Eastleigh College Level 2 Business Administration Apprentice. In her nomination Danielle spoke very highly of the firm, noting; “I am the first Apprentice that has worked in my legal department and I have received ongoing professional, constructive and encouraging guidance from all of my colleagues and my manager. Blake Lapthorn is a truly outstanding employer that values its Apprentices and treats us the same as other employees, with progression routes and promotion strongly encouraged.”

Max Craft, Partner at Blake Lapthorn who accepted the award commented, “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the event, it has been a great occasion for all of us from Blake Lapthorn and we are delighted to have won! The award came as a complete surprise; we weren’t aware that Danielle had nominated us and it was extremely gratifying to find out that that was the case. We were very pleased indeed to have such a high commendation from someone from our team; Danielle has a very ‘can-do’ attitude and has impressed everyone with that approach. So we thank her for her remarks, but also thank her for the work she has done.”

In recognition of National Apprenticeship Week, the biggest winner of the day was the University of Southampton who was the recipient of the Apprentice Employer of the Year award. Level 3 Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Apprentice, Billy D’souza, spoke of the constant support that the University has given him with his Apprenticeship, saying; “Nothing is ever too much to ask and they are always interested in how I am getting on and how they can assist me. They have subsidised my training and put me on countless extra courses to help and further my qualifications at their own expense. All of this, and more, makes the University of Southampton an excellent employer.”

Yarian Slevin who accepted the award on behalf of the Southampton University said “We have always tried to do our best as an employer, but never expected to be picked out of so many other nominations. I think it’s really important to invest in training as our young people need as many opportunities as they can get to be as prepared as possible to go into the modern working environment. By developing those skills early, we feel that we can really get the best out of them and really develop them into world-class employees, here in the UK. It’s really exciting to hear Billy’s comments, and we are ecstatic to be given that feedback; it’s nice to know that were heading in the right direction and continuously improving.”

Thomas Belfield, Eastleigh College Level 3 Electrotechnical Apprentice, spoke of why he decided to nominate his employer, InTandem Systems Ltd. “I really appreciate the opportunities that my employer gives me. Higher Education was an option for me but after seeing friends that have gone down that route and comparing that to my situation just made me really thankful for the opportunities that they have given me.”

Caroline Nokes, local MP and presenter at the ceremony commented: “It’s fantastic to see such a diverse range of employers being recognised today and to see the commitment that both the employers and Apprentices have to the scheme. It is particularly nice to speak to the Apprentices who are such phenomenal advocates for undertaking an Apprenticeship.”

Tony Lau-Walker, Chief Executive of Eastleigh College added: “Nominated by the learners, the Training Ambassador Awards draw attention to the fact that these employers are committed to the development of their staff and commitment to young people through their participation in various Apprenticeship programmes. It shows they have given the time and effort involved in developing people through training into productive employees. This is why they are our 2014 ambassadors.”

Lyndsey Hamper who attended on behalf of the National Apprenticeship Service said “Today’s event has been brilliant, it’s really nice to speak to employers who support Apprenticeships, especially given that their Apprentices have nominated them; it shows that they appreciate the time and money invested in them which allows them to progress through the programme.”

For information on the range of Apprenticeships offered by Eastleigh College, please contact the Eastleigh College Training Agency on 023 8091 1195, email