Apprentices, their families and colleagues came together on Friday night to celebrate and witness Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards as the seventh annual event at Truro and Penwith College crowned its first triple-award winner.

Holly Day and Neil Caddy from Pirate FM presented the awards, held in partnership with DL Accounts Ltd with support from Cornwall-wide business sponsors, to recognise and reward the achievement of 42 shortlisted learners and employers across 16 categories.

The awards are open to all apprentices and apprenticeship employers across Cornwall and cover a range of professional categories including construction, engineering, management, marketing and business. Judging the awards was a panel of industry leaders from a range of large and medium employers from Cornwall and across the UK.

36-year-old apprentice Lois Craze, deputy security manager at FX Plus in Falmouth University, became the Awards’ very first triple-award winner, scooping Management Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by CIOS Skills Hub, Apprentice Achiever of the Year, sponsored by Award Partners DL Accounts Ltd and the coveted Cornwall’s Apprentice of the Year 2022, sponsored by hosts Truro and Penwith College.

Described as, ‘invaluable and an absolute inspiration to her team,’ Craze not only recruited an effective team during a departmental restructure but implemented policies and procedures that have improved services. Craze works with the Police to benefit the safety of students at the university and launched the SafeZone app on campus which has vastly improved response times to emergency and first aid calls.

Dr. Julie Gripton, Principal at CIOS Health & Care Academy, was one of three judges in the Management category and commented: “Lois is a shining example of what apprenticeships are, they are for people at all stages of their career allowing them to develop the skills that they need.”

The Achiever of the Year category is awarded to an apprentice who has overcome adversity or some form of challenge to complete their apprenticeship and is subject to a public vote that was heavily supported by the Awards’ media partners Cornwall Live and Business Cornwall.

Before the Awards,  Craze described being recognised on International Women’s Day as a ‘career highlight’, when she took part in the university’s #breakthebias campaign and she has been presented with ‘Powers’ by the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police in recognition of her work under the prestigious Community Safety Accreditation scheme.

Craze was invited to the stage to collect an unprecedented third award, Cornwall’s Apprentice of the Year 2022, after she received the very top judge’s score of all apprentice nominees across the whole event.

Lois Craze commented: “I’m over the moon, I feel absolutely overwhelmed, really happy and proud. I was just happy to be shortlisted. I’m really proud to be a women in a role that is traditionally male dominated and to be winning awards for that as well!”

The Large Apprentice Employer of the Year award was sponsored by Foot Anstey LLP and won by A&P Falmouth with  70% of its current leadership team starting their careers as apprentices with the group and their recruitment and training process cited by judges as ‘first-class’.

SME Employer of the Year, sponsored by Inn Cornwall Ltd, was won by The Lost Gardens of Heligan with judges describing the organisation as ‘a shining beacon of good practice in the apprenticeship arena that is setting a fantastic example for the hospitality sector and employers across Cornwall, with a real commitment to learning and development making it well placed to retain and attract new talent’.

Other category winners on the night included: Hospitality Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by BIIAB – Aaron Robbins from The Lost Gardens of Heligan; Accountancy Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by GetMyFirstJob – Jamie Sherwood from St Petrocs; Construction and Trade Occupations Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by RS Renovations Cornwall Ltd – Eleanor Greenwood from CG Fry & Son; Health, Care and Public Services Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT) – Maeve Hoey from CFT; Digital and IT Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by University of Exeter – Amelia Hopkinson from King’s Business Ltd; Business Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Cornwall Apprenticeships – Rachael Carter from Cornwall Council; Marketing Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Bull & Wolf Film Co. – Lowenna Hoskin from Hertzian; Hair and Beauty Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by VTCT – Rose Bassett from Escape Beauty Salon; Motor Vehicle Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Supercharged Cornwall – Samuel Holt from HiQ Tyres and Autocare; Engineering and Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by WES Engineering Solutions – Jack Robertson from Teagle Machinery Ltd and Land-based Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Teagle Machinery Ltd – Clover Smith from Maria’s Animal Shelter.

Speaking after the event, Martin Tucker, principal of Truro and Penwith College, which hosted the awards, commented: “We were delighted to host the seventh annual Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards and to celebrate exceptional achievement and outcomes in apprenticeship training across Cornwall. I’d like to give special thanks to our sponsors, without whom the event simply wouldn’t be possible and we are incredibly grateful for their support.

“Apprenticeships are a key part of Cornwall’s Economic Strategy to deliver a high-quality workforce and career opportunities. To deliver economically, apprenticeships need to be of the highest quality and the awards presents the perfect opportunity to recognise that quality.

“2022 is an exciting time for apprenticeships at the College with recent multi-million-pound infrastructure investments aiding curriculum development and boosting future skills. The College’s Future Skills Institute opened earlier this year and encompasses all of the College’s career and professional development training and facilities.

“The £7.3million Valency building at Truro, part of the South West Institute of Technology, new state-of-the-art Electric Vehicle labs at Penwith College and Truro College, and the £6.3 million Ottery building that will be opening in Bodmin to serve East Cornwall as a STEM and Health Skills Centre from September provide the people of Cornwall and employers with facilities that rival the very best that the UK has to offer.

“A huge congratulations to all of tonight’s nominees, we can’t wait to see where their careers take them next”.