Apprenticeship Awards: 25% of Finalists from South West


Today the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) announces record entries to the fifth national Apprenticeship Awards as the Government urges employers to offer Apprenticeship places. This year saw a forty per cent increase, with 1,400 entries from just over 1,000 last year.

Of the 24 finalists, a quarter hail from the South West region, more than any other region in the country. These include:

  • Jacob Stimpson, a finalist in the Advanced Apprentice of the Year category
  • Josh Pickering, a finalist in the Young Apprentice of the Year category
  • Sarah Abbott, a finalist in the Apprentice of the Year category
  • Mark Wilkinson Furniture, a finalist in the Medium Employer of the Year category
  • Pendennis Shipyard, a finalist in the Large Employer of the Year category
  • Defence Support Group (DSG), a finalist in the Medium Employer of the Year category

The four apprentice categories acknowledge and celebrate apprentices’exceptional contributions to their workplaces, where entrants have made a real difference to the business they work in by exceeding expectations and delivering measurable benefits.

Jacob Stimpson, 26, completed his Advanced Apprenticeship in Boat Building and Maintenance with Princess Yachts International in Plymouth.

Jacob says:

“When I originally left school, I wanted to go to university. Instead I opted for an Apprenticeship and have never looked back. I got paid to learn and finished with a job and skills that I can use anywhere in the world. Since joining Princess, I have really started to enjoy my trade and I feel like I’ve grown into my role by gaining valuable experience and training.”

The Awards are designed to recognise those employers who are successfully using Apprenticeships to improve business performance, and the hard work and the commitment of individuals currently on, or who have recently completed an Apprenticeship.

Defence Support Group (DSG) is a contractor to the army specialising in repairing broken down vehicles and its apprentices have a 100% success rate.

DSG’s Chief Executive Archie Hughes said:

“Developing staff that have the complete range of specific skills we require means that our workforce is always able to respond flexibly and efficiently. Being able to service and repair anything, anywhere is essential when keeping military vehicles on the road and in the air. The investment that DSG makes in its Apprenticeships is rewarded with great loyalty, and a highly skilled workforce who continue to work with the company for many years.”

Representatives from the South West region will join the other 18 finalists at the national Apprenticeship Awards ceremony on Thursday 10 July, to be held at the Royal Horticultural Hall in Central London.

David Lammy, Minister for Skils, commented:

“The expansion of the Apprenticeships programme is absolutely key to this Government’s effort to equip people with the skills and qualifications that count – and will ensure employers have ready access to the enthusiastic and talented people they need to help them grow. I would not be where I am today without the help and support I got from the people I worked for – and it is these life skills that are the ethos of Apprenticeships. They are not just good for business: Apprenticeships are also about mentoring, dedication, application and skills. I am fortunate enough to meet apprentices from all walks of life, from engineering to floristry, IT to retail and I continue to be struck by their dedication and professionalism.

“I congratulate every employer and Apprentice who has taken part in these awards. They are testament to what can be achieved by putting skills centre stage, and I hope many more employers and young people will follow their example.”

Stephen Gardner, Director of Apprenticeships at the LSC commented:

“The high volume and calibre of entries to this year’s Awards are testimony to the real benefits Apprenticeships bring to both employers and individuals alike. The finalists demonstrate the outstanding contribution apprentices and businesses are making to raise the nation’s skills levels and improve productivity and competitiveness.

“On behalf of the LSC, I would like to congratulate each and every finalist for their hard work, development and commitment to their Apprenticeship programmes. They have succeeded in raising their skills levels and I hope they prove to be positive role models to others who are considering becoming or hiring apprentices. I look forward to meeting each and every one of them.”

To find out more about Apprenticeships, visit or call 08000 150 400

Notes to editors:

Learning and Skills Council:

The LSC exists to make England better skilled and more competitive. We are responsible for ensuring the availability of high-quality education and training for everyone. We have a single goal: to improve the skills of England’s young people and adults to world class standards. Our vision is that young people and adults in England have knowledge and skills matching the best in the world and are part of a truly competitive workforce. We work nationally, regionally and locally to deliver this ambition on behalf of learners and employers.

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