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In recognition of the incredible contribution apprenticeships bring to our economy, Newbury College and University Centre Newbury (UCN) have been utilising National Apprenticeship Week (6 – 12 February 2023) to highlight some outstanding examples of excellence with their annual Apprenticeship Awards.

Winners were announced during the week on the Newbury College and UCN social media channels alongside videos and interviews with employers and apprentices, showcasing how they benefit from utilising apprenticeships to progress their businesses and careers.

Dr Jo Houghton, Director of Business and Partnerships, UCN and Newbury College, said: “National Apprenticeship Week is a fantastic opportunity for us to recognise the hard work and commitment of our apprentices, employers, and their supporting network. We are proud to announce our 2023 award winners and celebrate their success.

“Apprenticeships now more than ever develop skills for life and enable businesses to recruit and upskill staff with the practical skills and underpinning knowledge that future-proofs their businesses. It is vital we highlight the opportunities apprenticeships bring and showcase and support businesses and apprentices reaping the benefits of apprenticeship programmes.”

The winners are:

Best Apprentice in a Small Business
Ben Anidjah - Run3D

Ben is a Customer Service Specialist apprentice at Run3D, an Oxford science-based company that produces gait analysis solutions so that people can walk pain-free, have injuries treated and also allow people to run faster. Ben's role has developed over the course of his qualification, whereby he now regularly travels abroad to see customers in places like Austria and Canada. Ben's apprenticeship work, particularly his written assignments, has been exceptional, and Ben has completed a lot of research and self-study to inform himself about customers and their needs. Ben's communication skills are excellent and effective, and his knowledge and understanding of the company's products have developed enormously over the past year. Ben is now approaching his end point assessment to complete his apprenticeship and has benefited from this qualification in terms of its content and how he has approached it - with determination and positivity.

Best Apprentice in a Medium Business
Nina Clay - Rocking Horse Nursery

Nina is motivated and proactive, seeking learning opportunities within her practice and portfolio. She approaches her managers and colleagues for ideas and guidance. She comes prepared to her monthly meetings with her Development Coach with questions ready for discussion on the topics she is focusing on. She is well-liked in her setting (Rocking Horse Nursery) and works well with her colleagues and the children. She also pushes herself to try new things, even when observed, and responds well to feedback. Her written work is of a high standard, and she aims to create resources for her portfolio and for communicating with parents/carers and other partners in her practice. Nina is an excellent apprentice, engaging with independent academic learning as well as learning in the workplace.

Best Apprentice in a Large Business
Joseph Booker - Kerridge Commercial Systems

Joe has diligently worked through his apprenticeship and has produced effective portfolio work, which is always of a high standard, and he has achieved his AAT exams. He has always approached his role at work professionally with an exemplary attitude to learning and progressing. Joe has been committed to his studies and role with Kerridge Commercial Systems, and I am sure he will continue to achieve his developmental goals in Accountancy. Joe has been consistently engaged with the Accountancy Level 2 apprenticeship - completing the AAT exams and EPA. He is now looking forward to the next step in his development, which will likely involve another apprenticeship!

Best Tutor
Chris Bidgood - UCN

Chris is an Engineering Lecturer at University Centre Newbury. He has been selected as this year's Best Tutor following nominations describing his approachability. Apprentices said: "He makes every lesson very easy to understand and fun."

Best Workplace Mentor
Shaun Hibberd - Pall Europe

Congratulations to Shaun Hibberd at Pall Manufacturing for winning this year's Best Workplace Mentor Award. Shaun has been recognised for his support in developing manufacturing engineering apprentices. Seeking out opportunities within the workplace to help apprentices apply their learning and develop in their role.

Best Development Coach (Assessor)
Jude Buckell - Newbury College

Jude Buckell is one of our newest Development Coaches. She has received multiple nominations from the apprentices she supports. Encouraging and kind, motivational and patient, Jude wins this year's Best Development Coach for her unwavering assistance which is clearly making a huge difference to the apprentices she is developing.

Employer Recognition Award - Small Business

Aligra wins this year's Small Business Employer Recognition award for their support and development of their apprentices. "I have always had the right support from the moment I walked in the door, there are never too many questions that could be asked, and development is constantly encouraged. I could not have asked to work for a better company."

Employer Recognition Award - Medium Business
Rocking Horse Nursery

Rocking Horse Nursery is selected for the adaptability and inclusion provided to its apprentices. They put an enormous amount of effort into understanding the needs of their apprentices, reflecting on their level of experience, knowledge, learning style and personality. As an employer, they seek out and are responsive to feedback from the Development Coach and share information to ensure we can collectively support and develop their apprentices as valued individuals in the workplace.


Employer Recognition Award - Large Business
Thames Water

Thames Water's supportive structure empowers apprentices to develop and apply their knowledge and skills. They provide an excellent industry platform for learners to align academic studies with sector-specific development.  They develop apprentices across Mechanical and Electrical/Electronics programmes who contribute to the course's success and provide representation as part of our Student Voice programme, delivering continual development and quality within UCN.

Special Award - Recognising peer support
Lewis Lovelock - Scotlands Ash Garage

Lewis is an apprentice with Scotlands Ash Garage and has been recognised with a Special Award for supporting other apprentices in the business, sharing insight on his journey in the workplace and using his experience to develop and educate others.


Highly commended:

We received some fantastic nominations this year. We wanted to acknowledge some nominees who scored highly with our judges but narrowly missed the top spot in their categories. 

Best Apprentice
Best Tutor / Mentor / Coach
Employer Recognition

Newbury College is creating opportunities to transform lives and has supported the local economy with innovative apprenticeship programmes for nearly 75 years. The apprenticeship programmes offered by Newbury College and UCN are performing at 16.1% above the national average overall, with the apprenticeship standard achievement rate at 28.5% above.

Together, Newbury College and UCN are supporting local people and employers to explore opportunities that develop a strong, knowledgeable workforce; meet the changing needs of the economy; encourage career development; and enable them to build skills for life.

To discover how your business could benefit, visit our apprenticeships page or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.