Apprentices get North East backing

Petrina Lynn of LSC North East, Dr Stan Higgins of NEPIC, Kevin Thrower of NSAPI, and George Ritchie of Sembcorp UK Petrina Lynn of LSC North East, Dr Stan Higgins of NEPIC, Kevin Thrower of NSAPI, and George Ritchie of Sembcorp UK

Three major organisations are putting their weight behind the search for the North East's brightest apprentice.

Sembcorp Utilities UK, the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) and the National Skills Academy Process Industries (NSAPI) have signed up as joint sponsors of the ‘Apprentice of the Year Award'.

The award is part of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) North East's Celebration of Learning and Skills (CoLaS) Awards 2009. The CoLaS Awards aim to highlight the sometimes overlooked achievement of people who work to enhance individual development and to improve the skills of teams.

In addition to making a financial contribution towards the awards, all three companies will judge the Apprentice of the Year category.

George Ritchie, Senior Vice President of Sembcorp UK, representing all three organisations, said: "Training and development are issues we are committed to and absolutely passionate about.

"People need to be more aware that the long term development of skills through top quality Apprenticeships tailored to the needs of the process industries will be absolutely critical to sustaining the future of those industries which are responsible for such a significant proportion of the wealth of the entire region."

Chris Roberts, regional director, LSC North East said: "By 2020 almost three quarters of the North East's workforce will be made up of today's school leavers and those who have already completed their compulsory education. This highlights the fact that we can't leave skills development to chance.

"The good news is that more and more people are starting and completing an Apprenticeship, benefiting both themselves and their employer. Choosing an overall winner for the Apprentice of the Year Award from so many dedicated people will no doubt be a tough task."

To find out more about the CoLaS Awards 2009 and to submit a nomination for the Apprentice of the Year Award, visit www.lsc.gov.uk/colas09.

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