Merseyside’s top engineering apprentices celebrated at awards evening in Birkenhead

The dedication and talent of fourteen engineering apprentices from Wirral and the wider Liverpool City Region was celebrated last Thursday, at a glittering awards ceremony hosted by The Engineering College.

The Engineering College’s Annual Apprenticeship Awards took place on Thursday, 23 November 2023, at Dockside, Egerton House in Birkenhead.

The theme for this year’s awards evening was “Making a Difference”, in recognition that apprentices at The Engineering College are developing vital skills by working on some of the largest engineering programmes in the maritime and construction sectors.

The inspirational keynote speech was delivered by Mr Phil Waterhouse, the former Royal Navy Regional Commander for Northern England and Isle of Man.

He reflected on his career in the Royal Navy and how his experience of seeing first-hand how the many different types of engineers, operating in high-performing teams kept a sea-borne community warm, nourished, healthy, safe and protected at sea, adding that this gave him a unique appreciation of the value of engineers to society as a whole.

Phil issued those apprentices collecting awards or graduating with a call to action telling them that “it is they that are destined to be tomorrow’s problem solvers in society”, and called on engineering apprentices at The Engineering College to seize the opportunities ahead and commit themselves to lifelong learning and development as engineers, as it is they who must own the technology-driven future.

There were also speeches from some successful ex-apprentices about the importance of apprenticeships to industry including Mr Mike Hill, former shipyard apprentice and now Managing Director of Cammell Laird, and also from Charlie Brierton ex-apprentice and now engineering Project Manager at Studley Engineering.

Terry Weston, Chief Executive at The Engineering College, said that the annual awards gave the opportunity to publicly celebrate the role of apprentices and employers in securing the future of UK engineering and manufacturing. Terry said, “Each year we host our awards evening in recognition of the hard work and achievements of our students, their employers and of course the staff at the Engineering College.

“Our apprentices are currently working on some of the UK’s most important engineering programmes, including major maritime projects like the block build of the Type 26 frigates, adding that we are also proud of that fact that many of our students, as can be seen by the winners and finalists on show here, work across a range of sectors including major engineering construction industry projects, hospital maintenance, airport maintenance over at John Lennon Airport, and some highly specialised manufacturing companies across the city region, to list a few.

“The awards were created to celebrate the achievements of students all the way from foundation courses to fourth year apprentices. The awards also provide a platform to recognise the role of our network of over 100 employers, who continue to provide fantastic employment opportunities to local young people.”

The Engineering College’s awards ceremony included 14 award categories and students were nominated and voted for by staff at The Engineering College and the employers of their apprenticeship.

Foundation Stage 1 Apprentice of the Year finalist, Jasmine Heaven

The Winners Included:

  • Pre-Apprenticeship Student of the Year – Kevin Parr & Sam Hillhouse
  • Foundation Apprentice of the Year – Sean Boulger
  • Foundation Year 2 Apprentice of the Year – Chryzler Buenaventura
  • Development Apprentice of the Year – William Patton
  • Development Year 4 Apprentice of the Year – Sol Foster-Ferrington
  • Cammell Laird Apprentice of the Year – Jackson Bateman
  • Cammell Laird Year 2 Apprentice of the Year – Shay Black
  • Cammell Laird Development Apprentice of the Year – Kieron Leason
  • ECITB Apprentice of the Year – Cameron Ward
  • TWI ‘Welder of the Year’ – Neil Monaghan
  • Outstanding Commitment Award – Brad Jones
  • IMarEST ‘Apprentice of the Year’ – Lewis Heath
  • IMechE ‘Most Approved Apprentice’ – Tom Butler
  • Overall Apprentice of the Year – Sol Foster-Ferrington (pictured, lead image)

Terry Weston added, “The Engineering College is incredibly proud of all our apprentices; however, we also believe it is vital to recognise those who go above and beyond to make a difference in their companies to their employers.

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of our winners and extend my thanks to our employers for investing so much of themselves into the apprentices they employ”.

Lead image: Overall Apprentice of the Year, Sol Foster-Ferrington

Why not follow birkenhead.news on Facebook, Twitter, and Threads? You can also send story ideas or letters to the editor to news@birkenhead.news