To recognise companies with the most outstanding and high quality apprenticeship programmes in the county, the Apprenticeship Training Award, sponsored by Superior, is open for entries in this year’s Dorset Business Awards.  Impressed with the level of entries in 2012, judges will be looking to add another firm to the Dorset Business Awards’ prestigious list of winners.

In association with the Daily Echo and Dorset Echo, the Dorset Business Awards introduced an apprenticeship award to the competition in 2011.  Originally acknowledging apprentices working in the engineering and electrical industry, last year the award category was opened up to all industry sectors and recognition was given to the firm providing the apprenticeship scheme.  Scissors, a local market leader in hair style, was acknowledged with the Apprenticeship Training Award in 2012 due to the outstanding learning experience its apprenticeship programme delivers.

Cathy Atkinson of Scissors says: “We strongly believe in growing our own talent and our apprenticeship programme has enabled more than 60 young people to benefit from excellent training within our salons during the last five years.  We currently employ 23 apprentices and approximately 30 per cent of our current employees started their career as an apprentice at Scissors.”

She adds: “We were very proud to win the award last year and would encourage any employer to enter because there are so many benefits just associated with entering. We found it was very motivational for members of the Scissors training team that we were putting our training scheme in the spotlight to be judged by people from outside the company and of course the recognition in actually winning generated a real buzz for everyone. It also provided us with an opportunity to carry out an internal ‘health check’ on our training programme which either helped identify areas of potential improvement or gave us the reassurance that we were doing things the right way.

“Winning the Apprenticeship Training Award has also been an excellent PR tool in helping us promote the Scissors Academy to other local salons because we now offer Scissors training to apprentices from outside the Scissors group and the Award provides a great endorsement of the high quality of our programme. We will certainly be entering the Awards again this year!”

To be considered for the award, businesses must have a BH or DT postcode and be delivering outstanding apprenticeship training in the county.  The entry must be endorsed by the training provider.

Apprenticeship Training Award checklist

Entrants should include details of the following:

  • The number of apprentices currently employed
  • Details of how many apprentices have been employed during the last five years
  • Information detailing why the apprenticeship programme was established
  • An explanation of how the apprenticeship programme has benefited both the organisation and the apprentice
  • Details of any additional support given to apprentices such as financial or day release.

The training provider will need to specify why they believe the employer should be a winner. The winning employer will be presented with a Dorset Business Award.

Jim O’Neil of Superior, a manufacturer of ‘O’ rings and special mouldings, says: “Apprenticeships provide young people with an invaluable opportunity to develop their skills, giving them the greatest chance of gaining long-term employment.  It is important to recognise the invaluable opportunities many of our region’s businesses are providing to the entrepreneurs of the future.  The judges will base their decision on the success of the apprenticeship programme and how it has benefited the organisation and the apprentice.”

The Awards are also backed by the south’s leading radio station Wave 105 and are free to enter.  Entrants can submit an entry via or print off an entry form and submit a paper-based entry. The closing date for entry is Tuesday September 10. Entrants do not need to be a member of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

For further information about the Awards, sponsorship opportunities or to reserve tickets for the Gala Dinner which will take place at the Lighthouse, Poole, on Thursday November 28 please contact Shirley Ewart on 01202 714812.