THE future of the town was celebrated at the Rotherham Advertiser Apprentice of the Year awards.
The prize-giving night returned after a year’s absence and the message was that apprenticeships are the way forward with some of the world’s top companies offering exciting opportunities for youngsters.
Winners of this year’s awards, held at the New York Stadium on Monday night, were Kamran Hussain (Intermediate) of Engie, Henry Long (Advanced) of AESSEAL and Lewis Massie (Higher/Degree), also of AESSEAL.
Business Growth Board chair Lisa Pogson opened the event, now in its sixth year, with guest speakers including Rotherham Council chief executive Sharon Kemp.
Advertiser editor Andrew Mosley called two of last year’s winners — Kirbi Taylor of Nikken (intermediate) and Jane Law of Rotherham Council/NHS (higher/degree) — to the stage as the 2020 event was not held due to Covid measures, and said: “One of the aims of the awards is to make sure we change the traditional view of apprenticeships, which the young people here tonight are helping us achieve by showing us there are some true superstars of the future in the making.
“We need schools and other educational establishments to push apprenticeships as a genuine alternative to traditional further education which can land you with enormous debts and potentially no job, while in completing an apprenticeship you earn while you learn. What’s not to like?
“By investing in apprenticeships we are putting our trust in young people who will improve our businesses, our town or wherever in the world they end up working by using the knowledge and experience they have gained.
“Every year I think these awards bring genuine hope for the future of Rotherham.”
He said the opening of the university, the planned improvements to the town centre, which are now taking shape, as well as expansion at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, were just three positives which would hopefully help persuade young people to stay in Rotherham.
David Norman, finance director of Regional Media Ltd, which publishes the Rotherham Advertiser, said he had suffered many setbacks in his life, but had seized on the opportunities they provided.
He said: “Trust me when I say you will have setbacks in your career and life and that’s a guarantee.
“So, when they arrive, rather than let them drag you down, pick yourself up, make those adjustments and move forward.
“Setbacks can be great opportunities in disguise and can be extremely positive as they provide you with a propensity for re-alignment and can give you added strength and metal that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.
“Setbacks are not to be feared, embrace them when they arrive, they will make you stronger in the long run.
“You may have to wait years and years before your opportunity arrives but it will if you work hard and when it arrives do not hesitate to grab it with both hands.”
Sponsors of the event were Airmaster; Constant Security; the Feoffes; Rdash; RNN Group; Engie; Mears; AMRC; Source; Barnsley College; AESSEAL; CP Assessments and the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce.
Judges were Diane Keay, group customer success manager at Mears Group, Jennie Watts, employability and skills advisor of the ESF Project, Jackie Freeborn, chief executive of the Rotherham Pioneers Ltd, Joada Allen Booth, president of Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, and David Brown, operations and business consultant at Ex Animo Foods Ltd.
Kamran Hussain — Engie (Intermediate)
Judges said: “Kamran is everything that Apprentice of the Year embodies — driven, dedicated, resilient, motivated, passionate about apprenticeships and inspirational to others.
Kamran took a significant pay cut (and is working two jobs to make ends meet) to pursue his goal of becoming a gas engineer via an apprenticeship route. He has ultimate confidence that his apprenticeship will open new opportunities and progress his career. He pursued an apprenticeship route to set an example to his children and to the young people he mentors in the community. In addition, he is very keen to state that age is no barrier to pursuing your dreams.”
Harry Long — AESSEAL (Advanced)
“Henry (known as Harry) is employed by AESSEAL and is undertaking an engineering apprenticeship at AMRC. This career path was recommended to him by one of his teachers after achieving disappointing A-level results twice. He now understands that offering apprenticeship as an alternative to university is a preferred route for many young people and willingly goes into local schools to talk about his journey so far. He is passionate about his work and has already made a significant impact by suggesting alternative ways of working, which has resulted in increased productivity.”
Lewis Massie — AESSEAL (Higher/Degree)
“Lewis loves both his job role and apprenticeship, consistently goes the extra mile, has achieved against significant odds and has made a difference to his company. He is an outstanding candidate and a worthy winner.
Lewis spoke passionately about apprenticeships, stating: “The experience you get on an apprenticeship is insane! It annihilates the experience I had at university.” Furthermore, Lewis talked about his apprenticeship giving him self-belief and confidence, particularly when communicating his ideas to others. We were impressed by Lewis’s work ethic and Lewis accredited this to his apprenticeship and that he is regularly reflecting on his achievements which drives and motivates him further. Amongst numerous other achievements, in an industry where only 25 per cent of products get released, Lewis was successful in planning and released a new product, through his innovation and consultation with others.”
THE ROLL OF HONOUR
Winner: Kamran Hussain — Engie (Intermediate),
Highly Commended: Jack Craven — Corrosion Resistant Material
Finalists: Courtney Ward — Engie, Caitlyn Haslam — Glu Recruit Ltd, Jack Pemberton — AESSEAL
Winner: Harry Long - AESSEAL (Advanced)
Highly Commended: Danny Hallatt — Rotherham NHS
Finalists: James Doran — RNN Group/Hilltop School, Emily Briddon — Never Average Marketing, Caitlin Straw — NHS/CT Skills
Winner: Lewis Massie — AESSEAL
Highly Commended: Heather Goldie — Rotherham NHS
Finalists: Liam Rodgers — Constant Security Services, Holly Arthurs — Rotherham NHS, Josh Rudkin — Harsco Environmental/SteelPhalt.