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Apprentice of the year was spurred on to achieve after Asperger’s diagnosis

PUBLISHED: 09:15 10 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:15 10 March 2018

Apprentice of the Year Josh Wrait with, left to right, Sarah Bird (MINT Job Coach), Cheryl Freestone (Apprenticeship Assessor), Hayley Winnett (Victory Housing). Photo: Norfolk Educational Services

Apprentice of the Year Josh Wrait with, left to right, Sarah Bird (MINT Job Coach), Cheryl Freestone (Apprenticeship Assessor), Hayley Winnett (Victory Housing). Photo: Norfolk Educational Services

Norfolk Educational Services

The achievements of some of the county’s apprentices were celebrated as nine worthy winners were recognised with awards.

Award winners at City College Norwich 2018 Apprenticeship Awards. Photo: Norfolk Educational ServicesAward winners at City College Norwich 2018 Apprenticeship Awards. Photo: Norfolk Educational Services

City College Norwich held its annual apprenticeship awards at Norwich International Aviation Academy this week, putting the spotlight on its apprentices and the employers who have shown support for training.

The awards event took place at the start of National Apprenticeship Week (NAW2018) on Monday and at City College more and more individuals and employers are seeing that apprenticeships work for them.

The college has seen strong demand for apprenticeship training over the last year, with the number of apprenticeship starts up by 14.3pc since last April.

Nine awards were presented to apprentices in recognition of their achievements in areas including hairdressing, customer service, marketing, carpentry, and engineering. The winners were chosen from over 1,300 apprentices learning with the college in 2016/17.

The overall apprentice of the year award went to Josh Wraith, 21, from North Walsham, who is close to completing a level two apprenticeship in business administration at Victory Housing.

Former Paston College student Josh has been on a remarkable journey over the last two years. For many years Josh found communication challenging in some situations, but it was not until the age of 19 that the reason for this was identified when he was told he has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Rather than being disheartened by this discovery, it spurred Josh on to seek out the help and support that could enable him to move forward in his life. He started working with the MINT employment service in Norwich, whose job coaches supported Josh to build his confidence and successfully apply for the role of apprentice corporate support administrator with Victory Housing.

Josh said: “Being an apprentice has definitely worked for me and I am really happy to be where I am now. It has allowed me to get the experience at work and a qualification at the same time.”

Hayley Winnett, Victory Housing’s corporate support manager, was impressed with Josh throughout the application and interview process and said Josh went on to rapidly establish himself as a valued member of staff:

She said: “Josh has a really good reputation in the team because of his attitude to work, his capability and his skills set. He is regularly asked by other departments to help out and receives great feedback for his work.

“Josh works well with the team, participates in full team meetings, and has really become part of the Victory family. We are super proud to have Josh in our team. For Josh to receive this award was fantastic, it was quite emotional, and I am so proud of Josh and what he has achieved.”

In addition to celebrating the achievements of individual apprentices, there were four employer awards presented on the night. The apprenticeship employer of the year awards went to Lewis Electrical (micro category), Plandescil (small to medium employer) and ATB Laurence Scott (large employer).

The award for overall contribution to apprenticeships went to Paul Wright, apprenticeship strategy manager for Norfolk County Council.

The other apprentice awards went to:

• Service industries apprentice of the year (hairdressing, hospitality and warehousing) - Georgina Smith, Total Revive

• Business apprentice of the year (admin, finance, management, customer service) - Jamil Ahmed, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

• Creative and digital, marketing and enterprise apprentice of the year - Daniel Copeman, All Hallows Healthcare

• Construction apprentice of the year (electrotech, plumbing, trowel and wood occupations) - Daniel Bunn, Blue Door Developments

• Engineering apprentice of the year - Shaun Stoker, ATB Laurence Scott

• Health apprentice of the year - Tara Box, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

• Childcare, education and early years apprentice of the year - Georgia Lemmon, Right for Success: Sewell Park Academy

• Higher apprentice of the year - Roy Steward, East Coast Community Health

• Overcoming barriers to achievement award - Joshua Wraith, Victory Housing


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