Young apprentices from across the UK were singled out as engineers of the future in yesterday's MOD Apprentice Awards 2011 which saw prestigious prizes presented to a total of 29 apprentices for their work across Defence.
They have been recognised for their excellent progress and results achieved during a number of challenging apprentice competitions, such as building a bomb-disposal robot and honing engineering project management skills.
But it was Wayne Bantick, aged 21, from Southampton, who stood out as the MOD’s Apprentice of the Year during the awards ceremony in London on 1 December 2011. Wayne works at the Defence Munitions Gosport depot as a trainee weapons fitter:
I was over the moon when I found out that I had won,” he said. “I was up against 20 other people for the awards. I think the MOD apprenticeships is such a valuable scheme because it is so diverse. It’s open to absolutely everybody and it is really good for hands-on and practical learning. The MOD is such a flexible organisation and they will do everything to accommodate you.
I’ve always wanted to become an engineer as I’ve always built things with Lego and the apprenticeships just suited my lifestyle. Following my apprenticeship I will have the opportunity to go to Defence Equipment and Support in Abbey Wood to do a placement with a project team to see what it’s like.
Last year, nearly 500 apprenticeships, plus a further 300 advanced apprenticeships, were completed across the Department, with others embedded with the defence industry.
Wayne was presented with a gold medal and certificate for winning the title, along with a cash prize and a trophy that will be displayed at the Gosport facility.
He was part of the winning team which picked up the Engineering Project Management Team Event, part of the Tom Nevard Memorial Competition.
Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, Andrew Robathan, presented the apprentices with their awards. He said:
The engineers of the future are not born; they’re made and they’re nurtured. Apprenticeships play such an important role in that. That’s why the MOD continues to value and support apprenticeships. Our scheme remains an enviable one as it’s a unique opportunity to work on some of the country’s most advanced engineering and equipment projects. From our perspective, it’s a shrewd investment in our future workforce.
Take the work on the new aircraft carriers. We have an apprentice supporting the MOD project team, while others are embedded with industry. This colossal project has reinvigorated industry apprenticeship schemes across the six shipyards engaged.
Almost 800 apprentices are currently involved and this number is set to increase as production continues to ramp up. Wherever they’re working, these apprentices are proud to learn their trade on such a prestigious project which will be at the heart of Britain’s defence for decades to come.
Each MOD apprenticeship is three years long and, after qualifying, most apprentices go on to employment across the Department.
Wayne was joined at the ceremony by fellow apprentices from across the country, who also received awards. A full list of winners can be found below.
The Chief of Defence Materiel, Bernard Gray, said MOD engineers played a vital role in every part of the MOD - up to and including on the front line:
The UK’s Armed Forces are the best in the world and, to be able to maintain that status, not only do we need great people to be members of the Armed Forces, but our Armed Forces need to be supported by the best technical and engineering skills.
That’s what we have got within Defence Equipment and Support [DE&S]; the apprentices and civil engineers are absolutely critical to the defence effort and are integrated into teams in the UK, on the front line in Afghanistan, and across the world.
Mark Skinner, DE&S Apprentice Team Leader, said:
We are delighted to once again celebrate the success of our apprenticeships and we are very proud of them and what they have achieved. Our apprentice teams across the country work incredibly hard with our apprentices, taking them through challenging development programmes that produce our engineers of the future. It is incredibly important that we continue to nurture high calibre individuals who display clear craftsmanship and engineering management skills.
Our Armed Forces are rightly acknowledged as the best in the world but to support the military systems and equipment requires engineers of the very highest calibre. We are really proud in the MOD to be able to offer our challenging engineering apprenticeship scheme which is so important to the future success of our organisation and its support to the Armed Forces in providing the seed corn for our engineering profession.
The full list of winners and their awards is as follows:
The Tom Nevard Memorial Competition
Mechanical Section (Machining and General Fitting)
- Winner (1st Phase): Luke Gosling, who works at Defence Support Group Donnington
- Runner Up (1st Phase): Andrew Leadbeater, who works at Defence Munitions Gosport
- Winner (2nd Phase): Keith Edwards, who works at Defence Munitions Gosport
- Runner Up (2nd Phase): Chris Jones, who works at Defence Support Group Donnington
Mechanical Section (Hand Skills and General Fitting)
- Winner (1st Phase): Thomas Breddal, who works at DE&S Abbey Wood
- Joint Runner Up (1st Phase): Andrew Reeves, who works at Defence Munitions Gosport
- Joint Runner Up (1st Phase): Ryan Fox-Novak, who works at Defence Support Group Donnington
- Winner (2nd Phase): Sam Talman, who works at Defence Munitions Gosport
- Runner Up (2nd Phase): Jack Jones, who works at Defence Support Group Donnington
Mechatronics 1st Phase
- Winners in the paired element: Zoe Cook and David Enchill, who work at DE&S Abbey Wood. Zoe also went on to win the individual element of the prize.
Electronic 2nd Phase
- Winner: James Baker, who works at DE&S Abbey Wood
- Joint Runner Up: Michael Sarr, who works at DE&S Abbey Wood
- Joint Runner Up: Thomas Buxton, who works at DE&S Abbey Wood
Engineering Project Management Team Event
- Winners: Peter Slater, who works at RAF Alconbury, Thomas Leach, who works at DE&S Abbey Wood, Wayne Bantick, who works at Defence Munitions Gosport, and William Kennedy, who works at DE&S Abbey Wood
- Runners Up: Matthew Powell, who works at Defence Support Group Donnington, Hossein Khoshtaghaza, who works at DE&S Abbey Wood, Lee Dumper, who works at Defence Munitions Gosport, and Richard Johnson, who works at DE&S Abbey Wood
The Elvy and Coast Charity Award
- Winner: Hayley Barnden, who works at DE&S Abbey Wood
The Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation Medal
- Winner: Samuel Jones, who works at RAF Alconbury
- Commended: Keith Edwards, who works at Defence Munitions Gosport
The Sir David Cardwell Memorial Prize
- Winner: Anthony Walker, who works at RAF Menwith Hill
Apprentice of the Year
- Gold Medal Winner: Wayne Bantick, who works at Defence Munitions Gosport
- Silver Medal Winner: Lance Finney, who works at DE&S Abbey Wood
- Bronze Medal Winner: Steve Wilson, who works at Defence Support Group Donnington.