British Telecom won the Large Employer of the Year category at the 2007 Learning & Skills Council (LSC) Apprenticeship Awards.
It was awarded the prize because of the size and breadth of its apprenticeship programme. Its 99,000-strong workforce includes 862 apprentices, and it plans to increase that number to 1,364 by September.
BT’s head of apprenticeships, Dave Walsh, said he was “delighted.”
“It’s recognition of all the work we have invested in apprenticeships and a real team effort,” he said.
Derby engineering firm Slack & Parr won the medium-sized employer category for companies employing 50 to 249 staff for the second consecutive year. It was also a finalist in 2005.
Sussex organisation Farthings Veterinary Group won the Small Employer of the Year award, open to firms with 10 to 49 staff.
The Apprentice of the Year award, worth £1,000, was won by trainee pizza maker Jonathan Pearson. The 22-year-old works for Lancashire company Schwan’s Consumer Brands, which makes frozen pizzas.
He was recognised for his rapid promotion to deputy team leader within five months of completing his apprenticeship, and his work in creating health and safety and trouble-shooting manuals for the company. These have helped reduce accidents by 50% in the past year.
“It’s brilliant,” said Pearson. “I never thought I would win. My apprenticeship has given me so much: confidence, success, leadership – everything.”
Donna Coleman, scheme co-ordinator at North Lancashire Training Group, which delivered Pearson’s apprenticeship, said: “Jonathan is a prime example of what can be achieved through an apprenticeship. We are so proud – he has also won our award for the best overall apprentice.”