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WLB Awards main 071London’s top College provider of Apprenticeships celebrated a highly successful series of virtual activities for this year’s National Apprenticeship Week.

The events organised by Harrow College and Uxbridge College (HCUC) included virtual presentation sessions from a range of high profile apprentice employers, careers advice by video link and text, a virtual apprenticeship fair, and an open evening. There was also a virtual presentation delivered at Brunel University London.

The week was also complemented by two recent Highly Commended awards for HCUC Apprentices at the prestigious West London Business Awards, held separately the previous week by the regional business development organisation.

Employers and business organisations taking part in HCUC’s virtual apprenticeship week included:

* HS2
* Menzies Aviation
* Shaw Trust (a charity which helps disabled and disadvantaged people into employment and independent living)
* Willmott Dixon
* Higgins Partnerships
* Harrow Council: Victoria Isaacs - talking about how the council had benefitted from HCUC apprentices, and about apprentice funding and Levy pot sharing
* Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce: Sarah Irving - Brexit / Covid survival tips
* West London Business: Andrew Dakers - West London economy and, build and recovery plans

The event also explored how in the Covid era apprenticeships were a good option for school leavers as they are just as safe as staying at school.

HCUC Apprentices have also secured yet another round of successes in the annual West London Business Awards. For the seventh consecutive year, two Apprentices completing their training under HCUC Apprenticeships and Skills - the employer training arm of the college group - have scooped awards at the prestigious event.

Two Advanced Apprentices, Sally Sturgess, a Business Administration Apprentice at Anand Financial Architecture in Uxbridge, and Michael Westwood, a Mechatronics Maintenance Apprentice at Reach Printing Services in Watford, received Highly Commended Awards - both are based at Uxbridge College for their on-site and remote learning.

The awards, which this year were presented in a virtual ceremony in place of the customary black tie gala dinner, were announced in advance of National Apprenticeship week.

Sally Sturgess (20), stood out for delivering beyond expectations in a wide range of areas in the complicated area of financial services. She also embraced additional learning opportunities such as participating in webinars, made many creative improvements for the company, and revamped the company’s quarterly report into what her employers describe as now being a ‘world class document’. She aims to gain the Financial Services Professional Qualifications, R01-6, to progress further in her career.

Michael Westwood (37), is a father of four who did not progress far in his younger days at school but has excelled as an apprentice at the Reach Watford site - one of the largest and most mechanised print sites in the country, which prints newspapers, magazines and other materials including the Daily Mirror and Daily Express, major regional and trade publications, and marketing collateral for organisations including Tesco and Argos.

His work includes looking after the noisy, dirty storage and pump area which supplies ink to the presses, known as the ‘ink farm’. He is well known for his flexible attitude and willingness to go the extra mile at work, and at college, as an older student, he supports many of his fellow students.

Harpal Lehal, Head of Apprenticeships and Skills at HCUC, the Employer Services arm of the college, said: “National Apprenticeship Week at HCUC this year has been a real success despite how challenging it can be trying to make virtual events as engaging as real ones. But all our speakers did a fantastic job and we were extremely pleased with attendance levels by parents and students. I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the employers who took part.

“I would like to congratulate Sally and Michael, and their employers Anand Financial Architecture and Reach Printing Services, and to thank West London Business for hosting these wonderful awards for the eighth year.

“As the largest college provider of Apprenticeships in London, with over 400 apprentices across 28 sectors, HCUC is proud to help shape so many students into star Apprentices, and our year-on-year wins in the WLB awards are testament to how successful our partnerships with employers across a broad range of sectors are. We are also pleased to have sponsored the ‘Resilient SME Innovator of the Year’ category of this year’s Awards.”

* For more information about Apprenticeships at HCUC go to https://apprenticeships.hcuc.ac.uk/

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