Talented apprentices from across the region celebrated at annual awards ceremony


  • The awards, part of the Colleges activities to mark National Apprenticeship Week (4-8 March 2019), recognised the outstanding performance and results achieved by Apprentices from across the region.
  • This year’s awards were sponsored by local employers, who have seen their own apprentices grow and develop within their organisations; AO, SP Energy Network and South Cheshire Chamber.
  • Keynote speakers for the awards were Andrew Barton, Managing Director at Brownlow Furniture and current apprentice, Nathan Richards, Vauxhall Motors. Both gave insightful talks about the importance and benefits of apprenticeships.


The achievements of dozens of Apprentices from across the country were celebrated at Cheshire College – South & West’s Apprenticeship Awards ceremony last night.

The awards, part of the Colleges activities to mark National Apprenticeship Week (4-8 March 2019), recognised the outstanding performance and results achieved by Apprentices from across the region.

More than 150 guests gathered at the College’s Ellesmere Port Campus, with more than 30 awards being presented on the evening.

The event was sponsored by local employers, who have seen their own apprentices grow and develop within their organisations; AO, SP Energy Network and South Cheshire Chamber.

Ewen MacRury, 25, from Middlewich, who is completing an Engineering BSc (Hons) Apprenticeship at Bentley Motors and won Degree Apprentice of the Year, said: ‘’My apprenticeship has been fantastic. I love being able to seek new challenges, whilst gaining invaluable experience.

‘’It’s a privilege being able to work for Bentley and I am honoured to have won this award.’’

Mellissa Kermode, 21, from Ellesmere Port, an apprentice for West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce, won Apprentice in Sales, Marketing and Creative Industries.

Melissa commented: ‘’My apprenticeship has given me the skills and qualifications needed to further my career. With the support from colleagues, I have been able to quickly progress and take on more responsibilities to ensure I can reach my career goals of being a Marketing Manager.

‘’I have loved studying as part of an apprenticeship and would urge anyone looking to earn whilst gaining relevant qualifications to explore what apprenticeship opportunities are available to them.’’

Mason Andrews, 24, from Buckley, employed by Barratt and David Wilson Homes North West, was named Apprentice Ambassador of the Year at last night’s event. Mason said: ‘’I have loved every moment of my apprenticeship and with support from the College, I have been able to progress quickly through various levels. I am now exploring what management opportunities are available to me.

‘’I am always keen to learn new skills, so being given the opportunity to gain my qualifications whilst getting hands on experience has been extremely influential in my development.

‘’My apprenticeship has also provided me with wider opportunities, outside of my core programme. On several occasions, I have been out into the community, to represent the College and Barratt and David Wilson Homes North West, talking about the benefits of apprenticeships and the importance of maths and English in the industry.’’

Mason has won various other awards for his outstanding achievements, including CITB Inspirational Apprentice of the Year 2018 and Advanced Apprenticeship in Bricklaying (Trowel Occupation).

Other awards on the evening included Apprentice in Energy and Environment, Apprentice in Management and Award for Outstanding Progress.

Cheshire College – South & West have more than 1000 apprentices and works with a range of SMEs to large national employers.

Keynote speakers for the awards were Andrew Barton, Managing Director at Brownlow Furniture and current apprentice, Nathan Richards, Vauxhall Motors. Both gave insightful talks about the importance and benefits of apprenticeships.

During the day, the College celebrated their internal apprentices by holding an Apprentice Development Workshop. The workshop started with a networking lunch, where attendees were able to share their apprenticeship stories, followed by a range of team building exercises, which focused on the importance of behaviour and positive mindset.

Aaron Preston, Learning Resources Centre Assistant Apprentice at the College, commented: ‘’The workshop was great! Maria Davison, Director of Business Development and Apprenticeships, and the team made it engaging and fun and their creative approach meant we learnt new skills in a different way.

‘’It has definitely improved my confidence and I feel inspired to go out and make the most of the opportunities presented to me as part of my apprenticeship.’’

Dhesi, Principal and Chief Executive, said: ‘’Apprenticeships create opportunities for young people, enabling them to develop skills, earn qualifications and build a career.

‘’We get to see apprentices rise to the top of their industries with leading organisations, thanks to the outstanding traineeships and apprenticeships.

‘’The awards provide us with an opportunity to celebrate success, alongside thanking families, employers and stakeholders who have been incredibly supportive and critical to the apprentice’s success.

‘’We are extremely proud of all our apprentices and wish them the best of luck as they progress in their career.’’

To find out more about being an apprentice, call 01244 656555 / 01270 654654 or visit ccsw.ac.uk. If you are an employer, interested from benefiting from an apprentice, call our employer hotline on 01244 656499.

College celebrate launch of risual Microsoft Academy

Employers, staff and industry professionals attended the launch of Cheshire College – South & West’s risual Microsoft Academy, an initiative that will provide Microsoft accredited digital training for learners and local employers to equip them and their staff with the skills and knowledge they require in the workplace.

The new collaboration between the College, risual and Microsoft aims to embrace the digital revolution and link employers with learners. The digital training centre contains the latest Microsoft technology and will be used to train internal and external staff, access digital apprenticeships and provide industry qualifications.

Paul Edge, Microsoft Learning Consultant said: “Our aim as a company is to empower people to achieve more and this is what we are hoping to accomplish with the Academy. Through digital literacy we want to empower people within the College, both learners and staff, and arm them with the skills they need for the future.

“Technology is a constant evolution and with a blended approach we can enhance our future with the latest innovations. This is a partnership that benefits the whole organisation, creating pathways around digital skills and use of technology to improve overall effectiveness.”

Helen Nellist, Deputy Principal/ Deputy Chief Executive at Cheshire College – South & West opened proceedings at the event and commented: “The Academy idea was born out of a conversation some 12 months ago with our Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Representative, Mark Livesey. We discussed how we can respond to the digital world, and agreed we needed to invest time and effort in the right areas by creating a digital hub with the aim of sharing knowledge and information.

“It is a critical time for any organisation as the pace of change in the world of digital and technology continues to accelerate. We want to prepare our learners so that they have the skills they need for when they begin the next stage of their career. We are engaging with employers nationally and locally to understand specific needs and prepare our learners accordingly. It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity, which we hope will soon have an impact in the anytime, anywhere learning forum.”

Mark Livesey, Deputy Chief Executive at Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) added: “I am delighted to see the developments over the past year come to fruition and feel tremendously proud to have played a part in scoping out this programme. We believe this will have a significant impact on the local economy, drive economic growth and create additional job opportunities. I look forward to seeing what’s to come.”

Leading IT consultants, risual, have been transforming organisations with technology for over ten years, providing market leading consulting, managed services and solutions in IT. risual have experienced first-hand the difficulty in bridging the digital skills gap between education and in the work place. Hence, they have teamed up with Cheshire College – South & West to narrow this margin and create an effective learning programme.

Richard Proud, Co-Founder and Director of risual said: “As an employer, I experienced the problem that existed around talent and education. It became evident that the issue was in the skills gap. I was gaining talented learners but their skills didn’t match my requirements and we had to start again with their training.

“That’s when I decided I wanted to make a difference and act now to improve the quality of learning, in order to effectively align young people with employers to create a better fit. Since then we have been working with our partners Microsoft and Cheshire College – South & West to create and develop a programme that makes learning more relevant.

“We have built this risual Microsoft Academy with the aim of affecting young people’s lives in a more positive way. Through the Academy we have created a learning environment that is more aligned to the skills employers are looking for, essentially connecting people in the right way and reducing the digital skills gap we have witnessed directly in the market. The pace of change alters daily now, we want to be with it, keeping on top of it and benefitting from it.”

Digital literacy is one of the most valuable tools for lifelong learning. The influence of social media, technology and online resources has had a huge impact on society. Having an understanding of the evolving digital world can be the difference between success and holding people back.

Julian Cobley, Managing Director at the Skills & Growth Company commented: “We are whole heartedly behind this Academy and what can be achieved with this additional facility. This is a big step in the right direction to meet with local digital skills needs and will drive a positive change with employer engagement.”

For more information on the risual Microsoft Academy at Cheshire College – South & West and details on how you can benefit, visit ccsw.ac.uk or call the College hotline on 01270 654654.

The Academy hosts the North West’s Young Chef of the Year Finals

The Academy restaurant at Cheshire College – South & West’s Crewe Campus played host to the North West’s Young Chef of the year competition with six finalists battling it out to claim the title.

The impressive judging panel included Essential Cuisine Business Development Chef, Jonathan Harvey-Barnes; ex-Le Gavroche head chef, Steven Doherty; Paul Askew of Liverpool’s The Art School and Graham Price, formerly of pub group Brunning & Price.

Highly acclaimed Chef and Master Chef of Great Britain, Brian Mellor also lead the panel as chairman of the judges. Brian, who is an ambassador for the College works regularly with the learners to progress their development, techniques, skills and concepts.

Cyril Gabriel, 23, cooked his way to glory on the day, seeing off tough competition including chefs from Northcote and the Punchbowl at Crosthwaite. His winning three-course menu consisted of: Wye Valley asparagus served with free range poached egg and Hollandaise sauce starter; a main course of Welsh Mountain Lamb saddle served with pickled baby carrots, pea textures, carrot jam, creamy mashed potato and for dessert lamb jus and a Lime biscuit Dacquoise served with cherry cremeux, stuffed caramelised cherry, praline Chantilly cream, lemon balm and cherry beer ice cream dessert.

Brian commented: “Yet again the technique on show across the board has been excellent, this was one of the hardest competition’s we have ever had to judge, but in the end, Cyril’s consistent quality shone through. There was also real passion, pride and endeavour on show – something we’ve come to expect from the competition, but should never take for granted. We will be flying the flag for Cyril, come the national semi-finals.”

A well-attended inaugural dinner and awards ceremony at Cheshire College – South & West was also held to mark the competition. Brian added: “Special mention must go to Cheshire College – South & West for hosting the event. It was great to see so many people come out to support the young finalists. Thank you also to each and every one of the catering and front-of-house students who helped on the day – a truly inspirational group of young people and the next generation of this fantastic industry.”

The Academy restaurant is a training restaurant based on the ground floor of the College’s Crewe campus, featuring a modern and innovative twist on Manchester’s famous Northern Quarter in its facilities and décor. It also won the 2017 AA College Restaurant of the Year.

Shane Guildford, Chef and Lecturer at Cheshire College – South & West’s Academy restaurant added: “It’s been a great day and fantastic to see the restaurant hosting such a highly esteemed competition. We have been honoured to host the event and see so many admired and successful industry professionals in the kitchen with us today.

“It was also a great opportunity for four of our learners, who were involved in the event, acting as runners and assistants for the day. It gave them an insight into the pressures of a professional kitchen and they were all inspired by the food that was on display.

“There’s a lot going on at the restaurant this year with new initiatives and partnerships underway. We’re continually growing and attracting more talented chefs due to our winning status as the best college restaurant in the country.

“It’s already been an exciting start to the year and we’re looking forward to what can further be achieved throughout 2018.

If you are interested in Hospitality and Catering courses available at Cheshire College – South & West, or would like more information on the courses available, visit ccsw.ac.uk or call the College hotline on 01270 654654.

Learner in the limelight

For former learner, Joshua Jones, a HND in Technical Theatre at Cheshire College – South & West gave him the skills and confidence to start his career as a successful Lighting Engineer.

Since high school, Joshua, 22, from Bagillt in North Wales developed a passion for lighting within the event and theatre industry. After completing his HND in Technical Theatre at the College’s Ellesmere Port campus, Joshua secured a fantastic job working for leading European lighting supplier, VME, as a Lighting Engineer.

Joshua commented: “My tutor, Angie Berwick mentioned that a position had become available at VME and so I applied for the role of Lighting Engineer. I started in June last year and I love it.

“The HE qualification I studied really gave me the skills I needed to fulfil this role. I gained some great opportunities and experience whilst I was there, which has helped me to progress to the next step at VME. Angie was also very supportive, always there when I needed her for help or advice and she really encouraged me along the way. All the support has given me the confidence to push on and achieve my goal.”

VME are a major European supplier for all aspects of sound, lighting, AV and broadcast equipment. Committed to advanced technology and design, VME have been in the industry for over 20 years and are a highly specialised organisation.

Angie Berwick, Course Team Leader for HE and Technical Theatre at Cheshire College – South & West said: “Joshua has always been very committed and hard working so I had no doubt that he would go on to be successful in his field.  Employers specifically come to us looking for their next Technician because they are confident the course creates world class Theatre Technicians from all specialisms and Josh is one of them.  I am incredibly proud of him and his new role at VME, who are well known in the industry. This valuable experience will enable him to thrive.”

Cheshire College – South & West offer learners an opportunity to excel in their career with a choice of over 30 different Higher Education qualifications, all developed with partner employers to meet the needs of modern businesses.

Joshua went on to say: “ I wouldn’t be where I am now without the HE course and the support of the College. Now that I’m at VME, I’m still continually learning every day, which is great.  My next goal is to continue to gain more experience, enhance my skills as a Lighting Engineer and hopefully progress further with VME.”

For more information on studying Technical Theatre or for details on Higher Education courses available at Cheshire College – South & West, visit ccsw.ac.uk or call the College hotline on 01244 656500.

Learners motor on

Three learners from Cheshire College – South & West have excelled in the College Partnership Programme with Halfords Autocentre to secure employment at the company.


Lamin Faal, 32, along with Janis Kalnins and Adam Warburton both 18, and all from Ellesmere Port, have just completed their IMI Diploma in Light Maintenance and Repair Level 3 course at the College’s Chester campus and have gained part-time roles at Halfords.

The Motor Vehicle Tutor at Cheshire College – South & West, Joe Flaherty said: “The Halfords College Partnership Programme is a great opportunity and ideally suited to learners who are looking for a career in the motor industry.

“The course at Cheshire College – South & West provides theory-based principles that relate to practical activities and the learners are subsequently able to gain the hands-on experience at Halfords.

“Not everyone goes on to gain a job at the company, which is why Lamin, Janis and Adam have all done exceptionally well to secure roles at Halfords. This will give the learners an opportunity to put their skills to the test in real, practical scenarios.”

Halfords currently have 319 Autocentres across the UK dealing mainly with light/commercial vehicle service, maintenance and repair. As part of this programme learners benefit from working alongside experienced professionals to gain a wealth of experience.

Lamin commented: “My time at Cheshire College – South & West has been thoroughly enjoyable and hugely beneficial in terms of my development. I’ve now completed my Level 3 course and the tutors have been supportive and always available should I need any advice.

“This qualification has given me a real insight into how the motor industry operates and I’m now enjoying the experience I’m gaining at Halfords. I started just over a month ago, working as a Trainee and I hope that through hard work, commitment and dedication I can prove myself worthy of gaining a full-time job. This will undoubtedly set me in good stead to enjoy a long-term career in the motor industry.”

For more information on studying or applying for a Motor Vehicle course at Cheshire College – South & West, or for further details on the Halfords College Partnership Programme, visit ccsw.ac.uk or call the College hotline on 01244 656555.