Women in telecoms highlighted at prestigious awards ceremony
Two of the shining stars of telecoms have been as Apprentices of the Year at a glittering awards ceremony in London.
Sinead Watt, 22, completed her apprenticeship with BT in September, and was named as Advanced/Higher Apprentice of the Year by the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals. Sinead works as part of a small team in Edinburgh, providing and repairing residential and business lines. She said, ‘I am absolutely thrilled to have won the award – I was delighted to have even been shortlisted. This will give my future career a real boost.’
Scooping the Intermediate Apprentice of the Year Awards was Stephanie Cooper, 20, a field apprentice with Virgin Media. She works in Brentford, and provides support to customers for Virgin Media’s services. Stephanie said, ‘Being taken on as a Virgin Media apprentice has given me the self-belief and confidence I never had before. I am loving my new career, and am really excited to have won this award.’
Named as Mentor of the Year was Dave Davis, an engineering manager at NSSLGlobal, who is a former apprentice and mentee himself.
Dave said, ‘It was fantastic to see so many promising young apprentices in one place. In particular, I was really pleased to see three women nominated and two women win the Apprentice of the Year awards. The engineering community can only benefit from the increasing number of women engineers and hopefully next year there will be women finalists in the mentor category as well.’
Dave was also thrilled to be meeting Joanna Rowsell, the Olympic gold medal cyclist, who presented the awards on the night. He said, ‘To be nominated was a real honour and I was looking forward to a good night up in London, with the chance to see the truly inspirational Olympian Joanna Rowsell. To actually win the award and speak to Joanna was incredible and a real surprise; I was more than a bit shocked to be honest.’
The ITP Annual Awards Dinner was held at the Victoria Park Plaza in London, and pulled together around 250 of the leading lights of telecoms for an evening of celebration. All of the awards were presented by Joanna Rowsell, one of Team GB’s cycling gold medal superstars.
It also helped raise funds for a brand new apprenticeship scheme being launched by the ITP.
Joanna Rowsell, who both amused and inspired guests with the story of how she overcame adversity to achieve Olympic glory, said, ‘A lot of my success is down to having the right support from the right people at the right time – people who taught me to believe that you can achieve anything. Now the work of the ITP is helping to provide the same kind of support to young people in telecoms.’ Guest speaker on the night was John Chudley, divisional apprenticeship director – southern, of the National Apprenticeship Service. He said, ‘Apprentices make an invaluable contribution to the UK economy, bringing a whole raft of benefits to the businesses that employ them. The new ITP scheme supports apprentices in a way that will have real impact on their professional prospects, as they embark upon careers with a solid track record of training and achievement behind them.’
As well as working intensively with apprentices in other organisations, the ITP will be launching its own scheme in the new year. The ITP scheme will make apprenticeships accessible to all businesses, regardless of their size – opening up high quality bespoke training and first class recruitment to SMEs, as well as larger companies.
Ann Potterton, CEO of the ITP, said, ‘Until now, smaller businesses have struggled to take on apprentices, due to the cost, burden of administration, and lack of access to training. We hope to change all of that with our new ITP Apprenticeship Scheme. Our Annual Awards Dinner was not only a way to raise funds for the scheme, but also to put the spotlight on the truly fantastic work that apprentices do, and the amazing contribution they make to the telecoms industry. I’d like to offer our congratulations to our deserved winners, Stephanie and Sinead, as well as our Mentor of the Year, Dave Davis.’
The ITP Annual Awards Dinner and the ITP Apprenticeship Scheme have received generous support from Alcatel Lucent, VTLWaveNet, Virgin Media, CAT UK, BT, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the National Apprenticeship Service.