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West Suffolk College apprentices celebrated at annual awards night in Bury St Edmunds during National Apprenticeship Week





Top apprentices have been recognised at an awards ceremony at West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds last night.

They were joined by businesses, staff and guests for an occasion that took place at the award-winning Edmunds restaurant.

The occasion celebrated achievements of individuals during a campaign called National Apprenticeship Week.

Group shot of most of the winners with Dr Nikos Savvas (left) and Phil Stittle, master of ceremonies, (right). Picture: Supplied by Eastern Education Group
Group shot of most of the winners with Dr Nikos Savvas (left) and Phil Stittle, master of ceremonies, (right). Picture: Supplied by Eastern Education Group

In total 12 awards were handed out and an overall ‘apprentice of the year award’ was chosen out of all nominees.

This top prize went to Amy Underwood, who also received the business apprentice of the year accolade. The 18 year old, from Bury St Edmunds, works for Portable Space Ltd.

On winning the award, Amy said: “I was shocked and taken back. This is a signal for me and anyone that wants to do an apprenticeship that you should do it.

Business apprentice of the year Amy Underwood. Supplied by Eastern Education Group
Business apprentice of the year Amy Underwood. Supplied by Eastern Education Group
Amy Underwood (right) shares her moment of triumph of winning the overall apprentice of the year award with her mum Louise. Picture: Supplied by Eastern Education Group
Amy Underwood (right) shares her moment of triumph of winning the overall apprentice of the year award with her mum Louise. Picture: Supplied by Eastern Education Group

“I would have thought that I would have completed my A-levels and my first term at university at this point – but I’m here, I’m happy and very proud of where I’ve come.”

Her mum Louise Underwood said: “Amy has done so well and come so far in such a short space of time. This is definitely one of our proudest moments together so far.”

Dr Nikos Savvas, principal of West Suffolk College and CEO of the Eastern Education Group, said: “National Apprenticeship Week showcases the very best that apprenticeships have to offer up and down the country.

“Tonight, we have celebrated the excellent performance of apprentices in a multitude of different sectors. We have recognised those who have stood out and shone from the apprentices who are currently in learning at West Suffolk College Sixth Form, and we have acknowledged the hard work, determination, and resilience that they have all demonstrated during their apprenticeships.

“This region is really bucking the trend for apprenticeships, with increased numbers and appetite from local employers to support not only the next generation coming through, but also to develop their own workforce along the way.

“We have over 2000 apprentices in learning and are supporting over 950 employers. We now deliver apprenticeship training from Cornwall to Northumberland and from Merseyside down to Hampshire.

Dr Nikos Savvas, principal and CEO of Eastern Education Group, congratulates Amy Underwood after she scooped overall apprentice of the year. Picture: Supplied by Eastern Education Group
Dr Nikos Savvas, principal and CEO of Eastern Education Group, congratulates Amy Underwood after she scooped overall apprentice of the year. Picture: Supplied by Eastern Education Group

“We push the boundaries of delivery and want to not only succeed locally for our community but be a UK lead for education.

“We continue to trailblaze the work of apprenticeships and this is down to the support from the innovative, forward thinking, and incredibly talented businesses we have here tonight.”

Phil Stittle, executive director of business development at West Suffolk College, said: “This was the third year in a row that we have hosted this evening and it’s always a magical night.

“I’d like to congratulate all of our amazing winners for their fantastic efforts and say thank you to all of the businesses we work with for putting their trust in us to support them.”

A former student, Felix Jones, 20, from Lackford, was the guest presenter.

Felix, who works for F.A Valiant and Son Ltd, recently picked up a national award from the Institute of Carpenters.

He said: “It was a great honour to be invited along to be the guest speaker. Apprenticeships are brilliant. They teach you real life work experience on the job and I don’t think you can beat that. My reflections of the college are that they had great lecturers and tutors, a great set of facilities and it was a really positive experience.”

The winners were as follows:

Norfolk winners

Chelsea Paremain from Thetford works for Watermist Ltd

Lily Spruce from Framlingham Earl works for Norwich Electrical

Harvey Contreras from Aylsham works for Allen Ashley Painting and Decorating Services

Nottinghamshire winner

Brooke Dickinson from Mansfield works for Sherwood Forest Trust

Suffolk winners

Amy Underwood from Bury St Edmunds works at Portable Space Ltd

Nuno Cruz from Bury St Edmunds works at the West Suffolk NHS Trust

Tom Robinson from Stowmarket works for Ichiban UK

Sam Bragoli-Jones from Sudbury works for The Mission Group

Amelia Castle from Bury St Edmunds works for West Suffolk College

Tommy Lovering from Bury St Edmunds works for Idolise Hair and Beauty

Lauren Mizon from Haverhill works for Dizzy’s Day Nursery

Connor Gutsell from Bury St Edmunds works for West Suffolk Hospital