Ten apprentice stars show future is bright thanks to Ladder

Mar 21, 2024 | News

The latest stars from the Ladder apprenticeship campaigns, which has helped 10,000 people secure work and upskill over the last 10 years, had their achievements honoured at the Houses of Parliament.

The Ladder celebration event saw 10 exceptional stars honoured for their achievements with the aim of inspiring more people to engage with apprenticeships to boost their careers.

Seven award winning apprentices were inducted as ‘Ladder Apprenticeship Champions’ for exemplifying the positive ways individuals can make the most of apprenticeships. 

A further three apprentices from the Greater Birmingham region were honoured with the latest Ladder awards, sponsored by Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.

The seven Champions include Ahmad Ford, who was named as Ladder for Greater Birmingham apprentice of the year for 2021.

Ahmad, from HydraForce Hydraulics in Aston, won the engineering and manufacturing category before being picked from six individual winners to be crowned overall Apprentice of the Year.

Having undertaken an advanced engineering apprenticeship, he has been entrusted with a variety of projects including the moving of a valve production line from the US to the UK.

Also honoured was Walsall Council apprentice Emma Hannon took home the apprentice of the year award from the first Ladder for the Black Country Apprenticeship Awards in 2022.

Emma overcame being diagnosed with diabetic eye disease in both eyes, which left her blind in one eye and with just 17 percent vision in the other. Judges were amazed by Emma’s journey and her role in improving the lives of vulnerable and need families through her role.

Fellow Champion Sara Field is is an apprentice from Willenhall-based family business AF Blakemore who took home the top award from the 2023 Ladder for the Black Country Apprenticeship Awards.

Sara successfully transformed a struggling store and streamlined operations to reduce financial losses. She then moved to another store and helped them improve results.

Health, education and care apprentice of the year 2023 Black Country winner Scott Shenton, aged 49, was named as Champion having completed a team leader apprenticeship. 

Elizabeth Nixon won the 2023 Ladder Award for South Staffordshire Award having been an apprentice with PTP Training. She now works with the Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust in Burton upon Trent.

The other Champions honoured were Kelly Smith, an apprentice with Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group who is now the quality, safety and compliance secretary at the Royal Stoke University Hospital in Stoke on Trent, and Niall Smith, an early year’s care apprentice with Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training who has not let autism restrict his ambitions.

The Ladder for Greater Birmingham apprentice of the year award for 2024 went to Jade Davies, of Kier Transportation, for her impact in her highways maintenance skilled operative level 2 apprenticeship.

Jade Davies is the first female to achieve full distinction in all end-point assessment competencies, including the knowledge test, practical assessment and her professional discussion.

The citation from her employer said: “Every highways team needs someone like Jade. We have no doubt she will continue to shine in her future career.”

Highly commended was Chloe Bailey, who works for Equans and has completed an HR business partner Level 5 apprenticeship.

Chloe is established as a valued colleague, providing HR support for more than 600 employees often in complicated cases including mental health, long term sickness and performance issues.

Also highly commended was Cian Evans, who has done a commis chef level 2 apprenticeship with Compass Group UK & Ireland, working at Aston Villa Football Club.

Now progressing to a level 3 apprenticeship, Cian reached the finals of the Compass Group apprentice chef of the year competition.

Kevin Davis, Chairman of the Ladder Foundation, said: “Congratulations to all our new Champions and the latest award winners for being role models for the achievements possible through apprenticeships.

“We look forward to creating new success stories as the Ladder builds on its first 10 years, with your progress providing positive examples for the next generation to follow.”

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