The inaugural Eastern Daily Press Norfolk Education Awards are open for nominations, giving people a chance to recognise the schools, colleges, universities and students that are going above and beyond.

Here we speak to the judges and sponsors of the Apprentice of the Year and Outstanding Commitment to Sport categories.


Katy Dorman, apprenticeship strategy manager, Apprenticeships Norfolk

What does your organisation do?
Apprenticeships Norfolk is a free and impartial service run by Norfolk County Council. It raises awareness of the benefits that apprenticeships can bring and opportunities available locally.

A dedicated team offers practical support, information and guidance, supporting individuals (of all ages) and businesses to access apprenticeships.

Why did you decide to sponsor this award?
Apprenticeships Norfolk is keen to recognise and celebrate the exceptional achievements of apprentices across the county.

Sponsoring this award helps showcase the fantastic impact that apprenticeships have, which in turn will inspire more future apprentices and businesses too!

Why are apprenticeships such an important education route?
A well-educated and flexible workforce is key to business success. Equally, individuals deserve to have the very best opportunities at all stages of their career, to raise their aspirations, gain skills and to progress in challenging and rewarding work roles.

Apprenticeships, designed by employers – for employers, can create opportunities for businesses to grow and individuals to progress though putting learning into practice.

What benefits do apprentices bring to your business?
Norfolk County Council has over 450 apprentices currently on programme and has recruited 25 apprentices so far in the first quarter of 2023.

Apprenticeships form an integral part of our workforce strategy to provide the council with a talent pipeline that supports our current and future skills needs.

Eastern Daily Press: The Outstanding Commitment to Sports award will go to a school or institution that is providing outstanding sports programmes and opportunitiesThe Outstanding Commitment to Sports award will go to a school or institution that is providing outstanding sports programmes and opportunities (Image: David Kirkham)


Zoe Gusterson, head of sport and public services, Centre of Excellence for Sport, Outdoor Leadership and Uniformed Services at Easton College

What qualities are you looking for in this category?
Sports programmes and opportunities that are making a real difference within a school or college community, as well as within the wider community or a particular sport.

They will be led by staff who go above and beyond the norm, are highly committed, act as role models and are professional in their approach.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing education in Norfolk in 2023?
The pay-offs from increasing participation in sport, and encouraging everyone to lead healthier lives, are huge.

We need to see sports funding as an investment rather than as a cost. Another key challenge is in changing perceptions and showing people all the different avenues available for enjoying physical activity.

Why should sport be celebrated?
A love of sport and physical activity, learnt at school and carried on throughout our lives, is pivotal to the health and wellbeing of the nation.

It also gives us all the opportunity to develop things like teamwork, communication, and problem-solving, which can help us in all aspects of our lives.

How important is education for fostering a lifetime appreciation of sport?
Enjoyment of sport and physical activity is one of the most powerful and enduring benefits of education, which encompasses so much more than just good health.

It encourages us to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate our environment, it provides a reason to get together with others and socialise.

Learning new skills is great for our self-esteem, and it normalises play and being active.

Nominations for the Eastern Daily Press Norfolk Education Awards are now open and can be made online at until Sunday, June 11.

The finalists will be invited to the awards ceremony on Thursday, October 12 at Barnham Broom Hotel.