Eighteen-year-old Leigh Worsdale has become the first female apprentice to win the Apprentice of the Year’ award supported by Boeing at Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) Training Centre’s ‘Apprentice of the Year’ awards held at the University of Sheffield.
The AMRC Training Centre, part of the University of Sheffield AMRC Group, provides training in the practical and academic skills that engineering and manufacturing companies need to compete globally, from apprenticeship through to higher education.
The pioneering 5,500 sqm apprenticeship training centre was established to train the next generation of world leading engineers. The Centre opened its doors in January 2014 and is currently training more than 550 people aged from 16, including second and third year apprentices who spend one day a week at the Centre.
As part of her award, Leigh, who works as an apprentice Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Builder for Foxwood Diesel in Chesterfield, will visit Boeing’s factory in Washington State, outside Seattle to see first-hand how the global aerospace company designs, tests and builds its 737 aircraft.
The Apprentice of the Year award, which is supported by Boeing, uses nominations from apprentice employers and trainers and is judged by a panel of members of the AMRC Training Centre staff and award sponsors.
Judges were ‘overwhelmingly’ impressed by Leigh's confidence and spoke about how she continuously seeks ways to improve her workplace and its processes. Leigh has been responsible for introducing a number of incentives at Foxwood Diesel that have helped to improve the business.
Speaking at the awards, Apprentice of the Year winner, Leigh Worsdale, 18, said: “I’m shocked to win but it’s amazing and the prize is so good!”
Professor Sir Keith Burnett, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “My warmest congratulations to Leigh for her milestone and well-deserved success. I am extremely proud of the achievements of our talented apprentices and of those who train and mentor them at our AMRC Training Centre.
“The UK desperately needs skilled engineers to help boost productivity and growth in our economy and our apprentices really are the future of skilled manufacturing workers, and of course this crucially includes our talented women engineers.
“The numbers of young people choosing an apprenticeship are increasing but we need to do much more to ensure these are of the very highest quality and so change the stigma around these qualifications.
“Our apprentices are an important part of our University and prized to the companies who sponsor and employ them. They are a magnet to inward investors seeking skills and a crucial part of the U.K's future economy. We are delighted that in Sheffield, our University has seen and invested in the highest quality education of all kinds. We are providing opportunities for future development of degree apprentices, postgraduate apprentices and even routes to PhDs. We will not limit talent in any form."
Learn more about the fantastic apprenticeship programmes at The University of Sheffield.
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