Top Apprentices and Employers honoured at Themis Inspire & Achieve Awards

Top Apprentices and Employers gathered for a red carpet event, hosted by Themis at Burnley College, to recognise their exceptional achievements and celebrate the very best in the region’s business community.

More than 180 guests attended the biennial Inspire & Achieve Awards, held last night (Thursday 7 September) against the backdrop of the state-of-the-art, industry-led training facilities available to our outstanding Themis Apprentices and Employers who are investing in their workforce, giving them the skills they need to succeed through on-going training and development.

Burnley Winners announced were:

Skills and Training Provider Award (small – 50 employees or fewer) – Alert Fire and Security (Burnley)

Over recent years, Alert Fire and Security has employed 12 Apprentices and two members of its current 21-strong workforce are Apprentices. Judges acknowledged the business’s commitment to Apprenticeships and on-going staff training and felt Alert Fire and Security were taking on Apprentices for the industry as a whole, not just themselves: a very altruistic approach.

One to Watch Award – WINNER Nebeela Desai (Paradigm Precision Ltd, Burnley)


Nabeela has displayed the ability to become a #futureboss and stand out from the crowd.

Judges heard that Nabeela has shown passion for her career and the industry in which she has already made a difference, judges heard. Her commitment to succeed has been shown by her decision to take on additional reading to ensure she finished ahead of her class, with excellent feedback from her tutors.

Skills and Training Provider Award (medium – 51-249 employees) – Parker Plumbing & Heating Services (Burnley)

Judges agreed that Parker Plumbing and Heating Services Ltd truly recognised the integral role of Apprentices within the business: seven of its 42 plumbers have been with the company since their level 1 Apprenticeships; 11 employees are at varying stages of their Apprenticeships and staff regularly undergo additional training. They acknowledged that Apprentices have quickly become valued members of the team, bringing fresh ideas and working practices and felt that Parker Plumbing and Heating Services Ltd recognised that nurturing and supporting Apprentices was a great way to safeguard the future of the business.


Advanced Apprentice of the Year Award – Abigail Parkinson (KAMAN UK)

Abigail is flying the flag for women in engineering, the judges acknowledged. They were impressed by her in-depth knowledge of the various departments and processes within KAMAN UK, as well as the fact she regularly presents to the. Abigail is now starting a degree, an illustration of her commitment to be the very best and progress within her field.


Judges’ Choice- Carrice Dickinson (Pendleside Hospice)


All finalists were entered into the Judges’ Choice Award with Carrice Dickinson, from Pendleside Hospice, selected as the recipient. The judges hailed Carrice as a pioneer and a true ambassador for both the hospice (she has spoken at a national conference) and Themis Apprenticeships. The fact she works in a challenging environment illustrates her maturity and resilience. ‘All hospices need a Carrice’, said the judges.


Our other outstanding winners are:


Intermediate Apprentice Award – Stephen Sumner (Roefield Leisure, Clitheroe)

Judges recognised Stephen’s commitment to continuous development and the progress he has made in his career to date. They said he is career driven and has already made a difference to his team at Roefield Leisure; taking control when needed; seeing sales growth within his area and helping to cut costs.

Young Engineer Award –Owen Hodgson (Fort Vale, Simonstone)


Judges presented this award to Owen Hodgson, the student who has shown ambition, talent and deep interest on the Burnley College Young Engineers’ Programme. Owen, from Sabden, completed two Young Engineers’ courses while in Years 10 and 11 at St Augustine’s RC High School and has been recruited by Fort Vale to complete a Level 3 Engineering (Manufacturing) Apprenticeship.


Skills and Training Provider Award (large – more than 250 employees) – WEC Group (Darwen)

Judges were in awe of WEC’s training academy which has doubled its intake to an incredible 40 Apprentices a year, committed to staff development and invested in its facilities. They felt Apprentices were an integral part of the business at WEC Group and were pleased to see them working on diverse schemes, including the business’s charity work (putting a roof on Darwen Tower and creating a spitfire mural in Darwen town centre) and a £1m.business project.

Themis Chief Executive Hugh Bramwell said: “The Themis Apprentices and Employers honoured at the Inspire and Achieve Awards are truly exceptional. They confirm all that is great about Themis: commitment, talent, ambition and a drive to be the very best.

“Our award winners are leading the way – Apprentices who are enhancing their skills and career prospects even further and employers who have recognised the potential of Apprentices and are shaping the leaders of tomorrow. The importance of continuous training within industry cannot be underestimated: it gives employees vital skills and job satisfaction and fuels business growth.

“Themis at Burnley College congratulates all our award winners on their outstanding success. The calibre of the winners is testament to the determination and vision of Apprentices and employers                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     alike and is a clear indication that our industries are in safe hands going forward.”

The finalists were presented with their awards by the judging panel, made up of industry experts and business leaders:

  • Lesley Burrows: Founder and managing director of Positive Footprints Network and The Job Junction.
  • Lisa Edge: Managing Director of Lancashare.
  • Laura Hartley: Founder of Laura Hartley Recruitment.
  • David Walker: Founder of +24 Marketing.
  • Joanne Etherington: Burnley Brand PR & Marketing Officer, Burnley Council/Burnley Bondholder Brand Team.
  • Simon Brierley: Managing Director of radio station 2BR.
  • Murray Dawson: Owner of Scott Dawson Advertising.
  • Stephen Bolton: Commercial Director of Lancashire Business View, commerce and industry magazine.

The eye-catching awards were produced by Hope Technology, Barnoldswick, using the high-tech machinery and highly-skilled workforce that have seen them become global leaders in the bicycle parts industry.

Guest speaker at the awards ceremony was William Fletcher, Managing Director of Preston-based social business Recycling Lives, who shared the inspirational story of his career. MC on the evening was Chris Maguire, editor and co-owner of national business technology magazine BusinessCloud.

Themis offers Apprenticeships in more than 50 industry areas. Do you have what it takes to be the very best? Do you want to join these elite apprentices? Visit www.burnley.ac.uk/themis or call 01282 733005 for more information.