Press release

High Wycombe based care company Buckinghamshire Care Systems wins National Apprenticeship Award

Buckinghamshire Care was revealed as the EDF Energy Newcomer SME of the Year at an exclusive ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House.

The awards, now in their twelfth year, are run by the National Apprenticeship Service and recognise excellence in two areas: businesses that grow their own talent with apprentices and apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.

The company was chosen as the winner in recognition of its commitment to developing young people through apprenticeships.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said:

Congratulations to Buckinghamshire Care for your success at the National Apprenticeship Awards. Apprenticeships truly are set to be one of the great success stories of the decade, and Buckinghamshire Care is a worthy ambassador.

We are committed to 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 so that even more businesses can follow Buckinghamshire Care’s lead and reap the benefits of apprenticeships.

Employment Minister Priti Patel said:

I would like to extend my warmest congratulations Buckinghamshire Care for their fantastic achievement in being named EDF Energy Newcomer SME of the Year.

Apprenticeships offer a fantastic way for many young people of all backgrounds to earn as they learn while providing employers with the transferable skills needed to take their business from strength to strength. We currently have record-breaking levels of employment – and this is boosted by prospects like apprenticeships. I want to see this continue.

By working closely with businesses and taking steps like rolling out our ‘Jobcentre Plus Support for Schools’ programme to teach pupils about work experience, apprenticeships and traineeships, we are helping to create an even more flexible and resilient labour market for the future.

Buckinghamshire Care have recently approved the expansion of their apprenticeship development programme by investing in becoming a training academy. Their apprenticeship programme specifically employs individuals usually excluded from employment, those with Learning Disabilities, Autism and Mental Health issues. They are committed to harnessing talent and the desire to work with those who often struggle in the open market, creating apprentice opportunities in areas of Garden Maintenance, Catering, Support Work and Administration.

This programme is integral to embedding their organisation`s values, investing in skills for the future, having people with disabilities working and visible in the organisation, really brings their values to life.

Buckinghamshire Care are investing in skills for the future, providing the business with sustainable staffing resources in a sector that`s difficult to recruit in.

On accepting the award, Martin Farrow, Managing Director said:

We have seen a cultural shift within our workforce related to how they receive individuals which may be considered ‘difficult to work with`. Seeing our apprentices driving maintenance vans, handling powers tools and preparing their food challenges the stereotypes of what jobs people with disabilities can do. This is exactly what our organisation aims to do every day.

We are bringing young people into our workforce, giving vibrancy and enthusiasm to a workforce where 70% are over 40. This also supports us gain new business through clients who are excited by the prospect of a young and fresh thinking workforce.

Having people with disabilities working and visible in the organisation really brings our values to life. The training we offer gives marginalised people paid employment, vocational skills, increased social status, positive health benefits, visible community presence and enhanced self-esteem. And our apprentices are making an impact - positive customer feedback, particularly in our catering services increased by 27%.

Nadhim Zahawi, the Prime Minister’s Apprenticeship Adviser, who presented the awards, said:

The Prime Minister committed to 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020 and I am excited to have a role in helping to deliver this goal, while pushing to revolutionise the skills of our workforce in Britain. Good quality apprenticeships create a fairer society by giving hard working young people the chance to aim for their dream job whilst playing their part in building a stronger economy for Britain.

There are many examples of excellent apprenticeship and apprentices in England and these winners are the best of the best. I congratulate Buckinghamshire Care on their success. It’s an honour to have been part of these awards; to play a small part in recognising the effort of so many great businesses and to reward apprentices for their hard work and dedication. All this year’s winners should shout from the rooftops about what taking an apprenticeship has done for them or what hiring an apprentice has done for their business. I am determined that apprenticeships should be given the recognition they deserve, because they absolutely do deserve it.

The ceremony also saw Buckinghamshire Care named in the prestigious Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list. The list, which is compiled annually by the National Apprenticeship Service, sponsored by City & Guilds, recognises excellence in businesses that employ apprentices.

David Drury, Campus Chancellor, EDF Energy, said:

I would like to congratulate Buckinghamshire Care on winning the Newcomer SME Employer Award at this year’s National Apprenticeship Awards. At EDF Energy, we are committed to our apprenticeship programme as a productive and effective way of growing our own talent and developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

The National Apprenticeship Awards showcase and recognise the many benefits apprenticeships bring to individuals and businesses and inspire others to follow, enabling them to lead successful lives and drive economic growth in England.

As well as technical skills, our Apprenticeship Programmes develop the attitudes and behaviours essential to the safe operation of our business.

To view the full list of award winners and finalists or for more information about apprenticeships, search on GOV.UK.

About the National Apprenticeship Awards

The National Apprenticeship Service challenged the nation’s top apprenticeship employers and apprentices to come forward and show how apprenticeships have made a real difference to them. Now in their twelfth year, the National Apprenticeship Awards are an opportunity to highlight the many success stories and the benefits of Apprenticeships.

There are six employer categories ranging from Small to Macro, and two newcomer categories – large and SME. Categories are open to employers of all sectors.

For the fifth year running the very best employer category entries will have the additional bonus of featuring in the prestigious annual Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list.

There are four apprentice categories, which are: intermediate, advanced and higher apprentice of the year, and the hotly contended apprenticeship champion of the year.

The National Apprenticeship Service

The National Apprenticeship Service supports the delivery of apprenticeships and traineeships in England. It offers free impartial advice and support to employers looking to recruit for the first time or expand their programme. This includes simplifying the process of recruiting an apprentice or trainee through the support of employer focused teams and Find an apprenticeship and Find a traineeship recruitment sites on GOV.UK where employers can advertise their vacancies and potential apprentices or trainees can apply.

Call 08000 150 600 or search for apprenticeships on GOV.UK to find out more.