Winner of Engineering and Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year at the SCR Apprenticeship Awards
Ryan Moore is proof you’re never too old to learn new skills - or be an award-winning apprentice!
The 41-year-old was voted Engineering and Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever won anything,” said Ryan, export manager with Barnsley-based Albion Valves, one of the UK’s leading valve suppliers.
Ryan was 39 when, after years of mentoring young apprentices and seeing them grow in knowledge and confidence, he decided to study for a Level 5 Apprenticeship in Operations Management.
His last year of studies were carried out during the pandemic as he worked flat-out, looking after Albion’s customers in Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Africa and everywhere in between.
“It was all hands on deck,” he said. “Among many other places, we supply valves to medical facilities and hospitals, which meant our customer orders were even more vital and time-critical than usual
Ryan also found time to volunteer in his community after work.
“When I look back and think of the extra hours I put in while working my way through a very labour-intensive and tough qualification, I am not sure how I did it,” he said.
“My apprenticeship is one of the best things I’ve ever done. It boosted my confidence and taught me new methods of management. My qualification was a validation of everything I’ve been doing for years and I’m so grateful to my tutor Adrian Plant, who encouraged me every step of the way.”
David Keys, MD of Albion Valves, said: “We are extremely proud of Ryan for winning the award, but also for all the hard work and dedication he gave to his role with us and his studies during the pandemic.”
Business and Law Apprentice of the Year at the SCR Apprenticeship Awards 2021
Rebekah Birch, 20, won Business and Law Apprentice of the Year for her outstanding performance in the workplace and her studies during the pandemic.
“I was so shocked to win. I worked really hard and this is such a wonderful reward. It really makes me believe in myself and want to achieve even more.”
She joined the Sheffield offices of DLA Piper in 2019 on a Level 3 Business Admin apprenticeship and is now a permanent member of staff.
Rebekah decided she wanted a legal career during her A levels - but didn’t want to go to university and took up a law-based apprenticeship with global law firm DLA Piper in 2019, just months before the pandemic hit the UK.
She says: "I was furloughed for a few weeks, then became part of a skeleton team who came into the office while the majority worked from home to keep the office running.
“In the space of a year, I had experience in many different departments and built my confidence and skills.”
She finished her studies in January 2021, achieved a near-perfect 247 marks out of 250 marks and was set on in April 2021.
Her ambitions are to continue training in the law and become a paralegal.
“There are so many opportunities coming my way. I have been with the practice for two years and I am only 20."
“Melanie Bullivant, my tutor, provided support at every stage of my apprenticeship. She really pushed me to think about my future.”
Rebekah’s boss, Nick Parsons, Reprographics Team Leader, said: “Rebekah is very determined and I’m very proud of her. It was an extremely big year for her, especially during the pandemic. She worked really hard. I’m very happy for her.”
Intermediate Apprentice of the Year at the SCR Apprenticeship Awards 2021
Grace won the Intermediate Apprentice of the Year award for her outstanding performance at Smurfit Kappa in Duckmanton, Chesterfield.
Grace joined the international manufacturer of paper-based packaging solutions in September 2019 aged 18 after gaining A levels and a BTech.
She was set on as a Level 3 Sales & Marketing Apprentice, a challenging qualification for a learner with no previous sales experience. Most sales apprentices at Smurfit Kappa join on a lower level 2.
Initially, she had a great deal to learn about the company’s wide range of packaging solutions and its customers across many sectors, plus how each department worked.
In her sales training, she began supporting a Key Account Manager on two of the company’s Top 5 Accounts. Grace exceeded all expectations, going on to work with other senior sales staff on new business and customer presentations.
Grace remained in work during the pandemic and demonstrated outstanding commitment across many areas of the business, also taking the lead on important projects.
“I had to adjust to working from home, sharing space with five others,” she says. “The frequent communication I had with the team and having targets and objectives really helped my progression and morale.”
With visits to suppliers and customers taking place online, she used the time saved from travel to finish her apprenticeship qualification six months early.
Grace also studied with the packaging industry body, the European Flexo Industry Association, completing six modules and won EFIA Student of the Year for 2020.
During the pandemic she was nominated by the UK Marketing Manager to act as Communication Officer - usually, a role performed at the director level. She embraced this responsibility and now takes a leading role in the company’s internal newsletter.
She also worked with the UK Marketing team to develop the company website.
“This work led to my first self-generated new business account which I now manage, something I’m really proud of,” says Grace, who has also taken responsibility for researching and administering two marketing campaigns and assisted in the development of sales & marketing strategies.
Grace is now Assistant Account Manager for two of the company’s Top 5 accounts and aims to become a Lead Account Manager. Her career progression at Smurfit Kappa could now include a marketing qualification, or a higher-level sales qualification leading to team leading and management responsibilities.
Grace’s line manager and mentor, Adam Brown, Sales Director at Smurfit Kappa said: “Grace made a positive and immediate impact. She is very professional and has approached training, studies and work practices with boundless enthusiasm and flexibility. She has proved that she has the ability to communicate at all levels and has already become a valued member of the Sales Team.
“Our General Manager and all my fellow directors are of the opinion we have an exceptional individual. She consistently demonstrates the creativity, drive and determination to succeed in her role and future career.”