I’m delighted to say we returned from last week’s Just IT Apprenticeship annual awards ceremony named the winner in three of its categories, including Apprentice of the Year, Employer of the Year and the Diversity award.

Just IT is the provider of IT and digital apprenticeships we partnered with early last year to assist us in the launch and delivery of our IT Apprenticeships. Its awards are run in association with the British Computer Society, which ensures high quality provision through apprenticeship standards end point assessments, City and Guilds, which sets apprenticeship industry standards, and CompTIA, which builds international standard vendor neutral certifications.

During the awards our apprentice, Charli Cobley, was named finalist for the L3 Apprentice of the Year award for companies with over 150 employees and won the overall Apprentice of the Year award.

Charli is a fantastic apprentice and exemplar for our scheme. He’s consistently professional, with an excellent attitude to work and the people around him. Charli has worked hard to develop his technical skills and progress through the scheme over the year, gaining plaudits from colleagues and customers he’s interacted with. We’re sure Charli has a very successful future ahead of him.

IDE Group also won the Just IT Diversity Award and were named the Just IT Employer of the Year, both of which awards we were extremely pleased to receive.

It’s amazing to think that this time last year we had just launched our IT Apprenticeship scheme and now we’re winning awards. We now have 26 apprentices working across various technical areas of the business, as well as within the Finance, Commercial and Marketing departments.

While we have the essential, senior level commitment needed for apprenticeships to thrive in our business, it’s really all the staff who are responsible for its operation on a day to day basis that I need to thank – it really is a team effort. Of those people, I’d like to specifically call out Bob Oliver.

Bob has a vital role in training our IT apprentices and more than anyone else makes sure the scheme operates effectively and continues to improve. The level of support our IT apprentices are given and the wide variety of experiences they are exposed to at IDE Group were mentioned during the awards.

Our first cohort of IT apprentices are now coming to the end of their scheme. We’re discussing permanent roles at IDE Group with them as we’re confident they can be the basis of our success for many years to come.

Looking to the future, we’re preparing for our second cohort of IT apprentices in Delivery Services, with our assessment day taking place on 20 March.

I very much look forward to seeing the progress of our current apprentices in their careers, as well as welcoming new apprentices to the business.