Apprentices in Edinburgh praised as finalists announced in new awards scheme

Young apprentices across the Capital have been hailed for their achievements, as judges announce the finalists in a new awards scheme.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 10:16 am
Health & Public Service Apprentice of the Year finalist Connor Burt

More than 30 apprentices have been shortlisted for the Edinburgh Apprenticeship Awards, in partnership with Openreach, which recognises apprentices and their employers across communities in city.

Announcing the finalists during Scottish Apprenticeships Week, judges said the awards shine a light on apprentices and the significant contribution they have made during the pandemic.

Many were carrying out roles as key workers throughout a year hampered by the Covid pandemic. Most were nominated by their bosses for going the extra mile.

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Erin McKenzie is an Early Years Apprentice employed by The City of Edinburgh Council

Apprenticeship schemes have fast become a route to future employment for thousands of school leavers, as the Scottish Government’s Youth Employment Strategy set out an ambition to reach 30,000 apprenticeship starts annually.

Openreach judge Anna Steven said: “It’s been fantastic to be associated with the first Edinburgh Apprenticeship Awards.

"We’ve been hugely impressed by the high calibre of entrants. As one of Scotland’s biggest employers of apprentices, we know what a massive contribution they make. And it’s never been more critical than in this past year, with many apprentices on the front line as key workers during the pandemic.

“As we celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week, it’s great to hear about the huge variety of roles the city has to offer and the amazing things people are doing as they get qualified on the job.

Anna Steven, judge from Openreach

“It’s also an opportunity to recognise some of the firms and organisations which, like Openreach, have remained firmly committed to apprentices throughout the pandemic.

“We know all the apprentices nominated will go on to great things and we wish everyone the very best of luck.”

Finalists in the Health and Public Service of the Year category are Dorota Wojtkiewicz, Erin McKenzie and Connor Burt.

Dorota from the homecare team in south west has been doing her Social Services and Healthcare Modern Apprenticeship SCQF level six for two years. Erin is an Early Years’ Apprentice employed by the council who has drawn on her coaching and fostering experience.

Ryan Printy is a finalist for the Modern Apprentice of the Year category

Connor is also a finalist for Modern Apprentice of the Year, along with Abbey Morgan from the University of Edinburgh and Ryan Printy from Redbuild Ltd.

Rising Star finalists are Dylan Coyle from Warmworks Scotland, Elvira Tzima and Hana Krtochvilova from Zizzi, Lewis Liston from Leonardo, and Kyle Lister from Davidson Chalmers Stewart (supported by Direct Partners).

Hannah Renton from Royal Mackintosh Hotel and Paul Scott, from Redbuild Ltd, are finalists for the Mentor of the Year category, along with Christian Jervis from Zizzi and Callie Middleton of DPD (supported by Direct Partners).

Finalists for the Engineering/Manufacturing/Construction award are Fraser Heigh from Mott MacDonald Ltd, Lewis Liston from Leonardo, along with Scott Leslie and Sam Kirkpatrick from Leonardo.

Fraser is a keen sportsperson who represents Scotland in international youth field hockey. Lewis has shown a dedication and passion for engineering & STEM, while Sam is now pursuing university studies to enhance his career and Scott will continue his studies after completing his apprenticeship by pursuing a degree.

Michael Doherty and Stefania Iulia Sandu from PwC UK have been shortlisted for Graduate Apprentice of the Year, along with Jessica Morris and Daniel O'Hara from Edinburgh City Council.

Michael has taken on extra responsibilities, including a role as a tutor. Stefania is a resident assistant and committee member of the Romanian Society within Edinburgh University Students' Association. Jessica and Daniel have both demonstrated a rapid progression in their roles.

Cafebar 1807, JAD Joinery Ltd and Royal Mackintosh Hotel are finalists for SME Apprentice Employer of the Year.

Large Business Apprentice Employer of the Year finalists are Leonardo, Standard Life Aberdeen and CCG (Scotland) Ltd.

Standard Life Aberdeen and Cafebar 1807 are shortlisted for the Diversity and Inclusion Award, while Training Provider of the Year finalists are Edinburgh College, Edinburgh Napier University and Heriot-Watt University.

All nominations are now closed and winners will be announced during the virtual awards ceremony on March 11.

The Edinburgh Apprentice of The Year winner will be revealed at the awards. Any of the finalists could win this award.

The awards event in partnership with Openreach will be hosted by Arlene Stuart and available on the Edinburgh Evening News website as well as being streamed live across Facebook and Twitter.

Judge Jill Buchanan, deputy print editor for the Edinburgh Evening News, said: "The last 12 months have been incredibly difficult for everyone, in all walks of life, which gives a special significance to these awards.

“All of our finalists would be worthy winners and it was an incredibly difficult job to decide on who would take the top prize in each category, as well as selecting our Edinburgh Apprentice of the Year.

“Apprenticeships have a key role to play in Scotland's economic recovery from the pandemic. They will help our businesses meet skills gaps and adapt to changing needs.

“But most importantly, they will give our young people a head start on their employment journey.

“As well as receiving recognised qualifications, they will be able to learn from skilled workers already with companies and organisations.

“This is why it is important that these awards also recognise the mentors, businesses and organisations who devote so much time and effort to ensure that their apprentices are well equipped with the necessary skills to play a vital role in the workplace.”

The other judges involved in the selection process were Audrey Cumberford, principal and chief executive at Edinburgh College, and Sophie Ewen, business engagement officer at Edinburgh City Council.