Apprentices, their families and colleagues came together at the Eden Project on Friday night to celebrate the eighth annual Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards.

Holly Day and Neil Caddy from Pirate FM presented the awards, held in partnership with Hertzian and media partner Business Cornwall, with support from a host of local and national sponsors, to recognise and reward the exceptional achievement of 48 shortlisted learners, mentors and employers across 18 categories.

The awards were being held at the Eden Project for the first time, having outgrown its traditional Truro College venue, with the biggest-ever audience of over 200 celebrating the achievements of apprentices from across Cornwall.

The awards are open to all apprentices, apprenticeship employers and mentors 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.

The new Academic and Workplace Mentor of the Year categories were added to the event for the first time to recognise the significant impact academic and workplace support has on providing apprentices with a quality start to their career and future career prospects.

Tamzin Irvin, programme team leader of nursing and allied health at Truro and Penwith College, scooped the first-ever Academic Mentor of the Year Award in recognition of her key role in establishing Cornwall’s only nursing apprenticeship programmes, allowing Nurses to train locally at Truro and Penwith College while gaining the workplace experience and skills to boost nursing numbers on the frontline of Cornwall’s NHS.

Providing strong representation for mentors in Cornwall’s healthcare sector, Emma Harris from Cornwall Group Ltd picked up Workplace Mentor of the Year and was described as “a consistent source of inspiration with countless success stories from those who are fortunate enough to be mentored by her”.

The exceptional work of staff across RCHT was further highlighted when apprentice Becki Hirst was handed Health, Care and Public Services Apprentice of the Year by sponsor Costain Group, before James Angliss, degree-level chartered surveyor apprentice, was not only presented the Construction and Trade Occupations Apprentice of the Year by sponsor Fox Construction Solutions but also the coveted title of Cornwall’s Apprentice of the Year 2024 for his exceptional success following a life-changing diagnosis.

Cornwall’s Apprentice of the Year 2024 James Angliss with Presenters Holly Day and Neil Caddy

Angliss joined the RCHT team as a Level 2 Construction Apprentice in 2017 following a diagnosis of IBD. Displaying a huge level of tenacity and work ethic, he went on to achieve two promotions in just three years before moving onto his chartered surveying apprenticeship. Now in his early 20s, he is on track to achieve a Distinction in 2025 and has already made a significant impact on Cornwall’s Health sector having project managed the delivery of a multi-million-pound breast screening equipment replacement programme.

He said: “I’m absolutely thrilled, chuffed, I never expected this, thank you to the judges and congratulations to everyone who was nominated.”

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. 2024’s Achiever of the Year was presented by Hertzian to 47-year-old Sarah Hyde-Wear, restaurant supervisor and hospitality apprentice at Fistral Beach Hotel, who was also presented Hospitality Apprentice of the Year by sponsor BIIAB.

Judges noted Hyde-Wear’s navigation of several difficulties and personal hurdles throughout her apprenticeship including the need to re-sit her English and Maths exams and a Dyslexia diagnosis while undergoing hip surgery and a significant family illness. She was highlighted on the night as someone who has displayed copious amounts of resilience and determination on her apprenticeship journey.

Her nominator described her as “a positive influence on her team, always going above and beyond and making guests her priority while helping her department implement cost savings and streamline operational procedures while balancing her homelife and studies”.

The 2023/24 academic year has already been very successful for Truro and Penwith College, not only hosting the biggest Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards ever with nine of its learners coming out on top in the 14 apprentice categories, the college has also been recognised as Cornwall’s only Expert Apprenticeship Provider by the Department for Education (DfE), one of only five Colleges to have achieved the status across the UK.

Continued multi-million-pound facilities investments have also seen the college open its new STEM and Health Skills Centre Bodmin to complement state-of-the-art facilities at its Penzance and Truro campus, where this week it is due to break ground on a £1.7 million redevelopment and expansion of future-focused Construction facilities that will welcome students from September.

The Large Apprentice Employer of the Year award was sponsored by Foot Anstey LLP and won by Pendennis Shipyard which has entered its 26th year of delivering apprenticeships, with a staggering 350 apprentices embarking on careers with the firm and an impressive 95% of these seamlessly transitioning into permanent positions, HNCs and university-level apprenticeships, with 18% of the management team having been former apprentices.

SME Employer of the Year, sponsored by Cornwall Opportunities, was won by Hiyield with two of the company’s apprentices, Paige Sambells and Logan Ford, winning Marketing Apprentice of the Year and Digital and IT Apprentice of the year respectively.

Other category winners on the night included: Accountancy Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Cornwall Council – Ned Seabourne from Cornwall Group Ltd; Health, Care and Public Services Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Costain Group – Becki Hirst from Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust; Digital and IT Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by University of Exeter – Logan Ford from Hiyield; Business Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Inn Cornwall Ltd – Matt Toms from Eden Project; Management Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Imerys – Matt Newman from Watson Marlow; Marketing Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Bull & Wolf – Paige Sambells from Hiyield; Hair and Beauty Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by VTCT – Hope Wishart from Goldbird Hair; Motor Vehicle Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Go Cornwall Bus – Lester Akehurst from Coach House Motors MOT Centre; Engineering and Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by GetMyFirstJob – Harry Hay from Teagle Machinery Ltd and Land-based Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Eden Project – Anne Karvinen from Calweton Veterinary Group.

Speaking after the event, Martin Tucker, principal of Truro and Penwith College, commented: “We are delighted to host the eighth 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, supporters and business partners for not only their contributions this evening but without whom the college’s exceptional work in apprenticeship training simply wouldn’t be possible.

“For apprenticeships to deliver economically they need to be of the highest quality. The Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards presents a perfect opportunity to recognise that quality and we have thoroughly enjoyed this evening celebrating all the talent that exists across all apprenticeship provision in Cornwall.”