Small business crowned overall winner at National Council for Work Experience Awards

A student development programme in Crawley, Champions Life Academy, has scooped top prize at the National Council for Work Experience (NCWE) Awards 2011. This is the first time the Awards have been won by a small business.

Champions Life Academy was awarded the ‘Work Placement of the Year – Under 10 Employees’ title before beating hundreds of organisations, including some of the UK’s leading businesses, to be crowned overall winner.

The company also took the Highly Commended title in the ‘Work Placement of the Year – as nominated by a careers adviser’ category following a recommendation from Cardiff University.

The Apprentice finalist, Ruth Badger presented the NCWE Awards at a ceremony yesterday (22 March) at Merchant Taylors’ Hall, London. LIDL, Barnardo’s and BP were among the other award winners*.

Mike Hill, chief executive of the Higher Education Careers Services Unit, which operates the NCWE says: “The emphasis on work experience has never been more prevalent and employers are increasingly valuing work experience in terms of the business benefits and the personal and academic development of the student.

“The NCWE Awards have been running for eight years and this is the first time a small business has been crowned overall winner. It just goes to show that you don’t have to be a large organisation to run a successful scheme. Companies of all sizes can benefit from taking on interns.

“Champions Life Academy was particularly impressive, providing practical evidence of a well-structured scheme, offering lots of support to its interns.”

Charline Roberts, brand and recruitment co-ordinator at Champions Life Academy says: “We prepare young people for the business world through our annual 12-week fundraising programme, equipping interns with sales, communication and leadership skills. Those that excel are given the opportunity to progress into our management team. We feel that we offer an exceptional opportunity for students to get hands-on experience of many business areas, so it’s extremely rewarding to be recognised.” 

 The NCWE Awards are open to businesses from all sectors and sizes that provide exceptional student internships. There are nine categories and more than 200 companies, careers advisors and students entered this year. There were a record number of entries from employers.

The winners were judged by a panel of senior professionals who represent the full internship process, including those from Rolls Royce and Liverpool John Moores University.

This year’s sponsors include AGR, GlaxoSmithKline, CRCC Asia and Centrica.

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