UK (University of Huddersfield) Celebrating the winners of the University’s 2023 Apprenticeship Awards

The University of Huddersfield applauded the achievements of its apprentices and their employers when it hosted the 2023 Apprenticeships Awards for the second time following the inauguration of the awards one year ago.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bob Cryan, bestowed the awards, with the University’s Director of Apprenticeships Brian Culleton, on the apprentices who had made an outstanding contribution to their job or workplace.  The winners of ‘Ambassador of the Year’, ‘Small Employer of the Year’ and ‘Large Employer of the Year’ were also presented.

During his foreword the Director of Apprenticeships said:

“This is a very relaxed affair, there are no black-tie requirements, there are no hats needed, there’s no brass band playing in the corner.  These awards are primarily intended to recognise the incredible achievements of you, our worthy winners.”

Degree apprenticeships are a way for employers to support their staff to study for university qualifications. Apprentices spend part of their time at the University and the remainder at their place of work, benefitting from on-the-job training enhanced by their degree education.

An advocate of the University’s Degree Apprenticeship Scheme, the Vice-Chancellor individually congratulated the winners as they stepped up to collect their awards.

The  Director of Apprenticeships welcomes the winners and their guests to the UniversityThe Director of Apprenticeships Brian Culleton welcoming the award-winning apprentices and their employers to the University.

“These Apprenticeship Awards have been created to acknowledge some of the incredible achievements of our apprentices, their employers and the hidden talents of our Apprenticeship Ambassadors,” said the Vice-Chancellor as he delivered his speech.

“Our teaching colleagues, apprenticeship support teams, student services and our employers have all played a vital role in changing the lives of so many people. I’m immensely proud of these collaborative relationships, which are centred on providing the best possible experience for each one of our apprentices,” he added.

Professor Cryan also acknowledged the efforts made by both the apprentices and employers amidst the continuing industrial action with the NHS and the aftermath of the COVID19 pandemic, which have both presented many, many challenges for all concerned.

Level 7 Apprentice of the Year

Iulia Rusu, Master of Podiatry Surgery and Level 7 Apprentice in Advanced Clinical Practice won the award ‘Level 7 Apprentice of the Year’ after she was nominated by her employer, Bowland Medical Practice.

Iulia’s career has transformed significantly since the beginning of the apprenticeship and she has gained a wealth of knowledge and insights, particularly in managing foot and ankle pathologies.

The nomination from Bowland Medical Practice stated how Iulia now possesses a comprehensive understanding of various treatment options, including surgical interventions, enabling her to make informed decisions when it comes to patient care.

This newfound knowledge has equipped her with the ability to identify and assess the severity of conditions more accurately, allowing for more targeted and effective treatment plans.

Iulia Rusu, winner of Level 7 Apprentice of the YearIulia Rusu was presented with the award for ‘Level 7 Apprentice of the Year’ by the University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Bob Cryan

Level 6 Apprentice of the Year

A highly valued member of the nursing team at Overgate Hospice and a respected role model to both staff and students, was announced winner of the ‘Level 6 Apprentice of the Year’ award.

“Known for her kindness and compassion Rebecca Nolan consistently prioritises the well-being of patients, always wearing a smile on her face,” noted the judges.

“She is a supportive and accessible team member who consistently delivers the highest quality of care.

“Rebecca embodies the hospice’s values by respecting individuality, preserving dignity and privacy, and caring for the whole person. Her can-do attitude shines through in any situation, and the hospice considers themselves fortunate to have her as part of their team,” the panel added.

Rebecca Nolan from Overgate Hospice in Halifax won the award for Level 6 Apprentice of the YearRebecca Nolan collected her award for ‘Level 6 Apprentice of the Year’ from the University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Bob Cryan

Level 5 Apprentice of the Year

Winning the ‘Level 5 Apprentice of the Year’ award is Victoria Atkinson who was nominated by the Clinical Education Team at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust for her exceptional dedication to personal learning and professional values and for consistently demonstrating the Trust’s vision, values, and behaviours while delivering compassionate care.

“She consistently displays empathy, dignity, care, and compassion towards patients, families, and colleagues.  Victoria’s motivation and positive approach to learning has contributed to her enhanced knowledge of evidence-based care and improved patient outcomes,” said the panel.

They also praised Victoria for her contribution to the workplace and said her commitment to continuous improvement has made her a valued member who boosts ward morale.

Victoria Atkinson won the award for Level 5 Apprentice of the YearWinning the award for ‘Level 5 Apprentice of the Year’ was Victoria Atkinson.

Apprenticeship Ambassador of the Year

The ‘Apprenticeship Ambassador the Year’ award was conferred to Emily Lister, a Nursing Associate Apprentice with Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust who has displayed enthusiasm, engagement, and a thirst for knowledge throughout her two-year apprenticeship.

Driven to succeed, Emily has fully embodied the Nursing Associate qualities sought by the NMC and NHS. For example, she volunteered to lead the Nursing Associate Society at the University of Huddersfield, arranging external speakers and events all with the intention of enhancing learning opportunities for her fellow apprentices.

Emily is nearing the completion of her apprenticeship but remains focused on supporting her fellow Nursing Associates in other cohorts and has been an outstanding ambassador for Nursing Associate apprentices.

Unfortunately Emily was unable to attend the ceremony and so collecting the award on her behalf was Emily’s colleague and last year’s ‘Apprenticeship Ambassador of the Year’ award winner, Sarah Robson.

Small Employer of the Year

Announcing Overgate Hospice as the winner of the ‘Small Employer of the Year’ category, Brian Culleton described the hospice as being a truly remarkable place and undeniably deserving of the ‘Small Employer of the Year’ award due to the incredible love, support, and guidance they have consistently extended to their apprentices throughout their careers and ongoing studies.

As a care provider for individuals in Calderdale living with life-limiting illnesses, the hospice plays a vital role in ensuring that people receive the best possible care during their final stages of life.

“This award not only acknowledges their outstanding dedication and commitment to the community but also serves as a testament to their tireless efforts in ensuring that individuals live and die with dignity and comfort,” he added.  

Small Employer of the Year and Large Employer of the Year were also presentedOvergate Hospice were presented with the award for Small Employer of the Year and the Large Employer of the Year was conferred to South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Large Employer of the Year

The final award for ‘Large Employer of the Year’ was presented to the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, for actively contributing towards the NHS Long Term Plan to boost nursing apprenticeships.

The Trust guides their staff as they progress through apprenticeships from Nursing Associate to Advanced Clinical Practice, to Allied Health Professional pathways.

The University’s Director of Apprenticeships explained that valuing the wealth of experience and diversity that apprentices bring has enabled the Trust to deliver exceptional care.

“Despite facing various challenges,” he added, “their apprentices have displayed a resilience and determination to learn, with 44 of them completing their apprenticeships with the University of Huddersfield and achieving Merit or Distinction.”

The South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust currently has 80 apprentices enrolled with the University of Huddersfield and are so proud of their achievements they are expecting this number to increase in the future.

The Director of Apprentices Brian Culleton is pictured above with his teamThe Director of Apprentices Brian Culleton is pictured above with his team who work hard to provide support to all of the University’s apprentices and their employers.

Successful careers through apprenticeships

“It appears a successful career through apprenticeships was the emerging theme fthese awards and I couldn’t be happier,” the Director of Apprenticeships told the audience as he closed the ceremony.

He disclosed how the judges had been blown away by the calibre of applications and after reading about the astonishing achievements of the University’s apprentices and their employers were completely taken aback.

“I’m extremely proud of the remarkable success of our apprenticeship provision,” said Brian Culleton.

“However, I must point out this success would not have been possible without our apprentice’s commitment to their own growth and development, coupled with the encouragement and guidance provided by their employers.

“These have been instrumental in making the University of Huddersfield’s apprenticeships a resounding success and I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has played a vital role in shaping the future of our apprentices,” he concluded.