Oxfordshire’s Apprentices, businesses and schools celebrate success at county awards

The third annual Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards took place on Thursday 4th April at Jurys Inn Oxford, where Apprentices, schools and employers were celebrated for their significant achievements.

The event was hosted by Simon Newton, Managing Director of electrical engineering firm Darke & Taylor and saw Apprentices from sectors as diverse as shepherding and beauty therapy recognised.

The two winners of the overall ‘Apprentice of the Year Award’ were Nairne Barker, an Administrative Support Officer at Oxfordshire County Council (who also won the ‘Advanced Apprentice of the Year’) and Shaun Morton, a Chartered Manager Degree Apprentice at Nielsen (who won ‘Higher Apprentice of the Year’).

The Burnside Partnership, who employed their first Apprentice around six weeks after opening for business in 2015, won the ‘The Apprenticeship Employer Award’ for businesses with less than 50 employees. Partner Fiona Wheeler said: “Our Apprentices are absolutely central to our current business and our future plans. We are very lucky to have such conscientious, committed and motivated young people working with us and they have very bright futures indeed.”

The award was presented to Anna and Della Burnside by Shirley Popham, Director at Popham Hairdressing, who decided to sponsor the category after her business benefited from winning it last year. Shirley said: “Winning this prestigious award brought new clients and business contacts, as well as an influx of Apprenticeship applications from enthusiastic and committed young people.”

The event was organised by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) Skills team. Supporting businesses to build strong relationships with education and training providers is a key part of OxLEP Skills’ work – whether that’s introducing businesses to apprenticeships, meaningful work experience programmes or supporting schools and colleges to understand the type of skills the county’s workforce needs. The team also trains young Apprentices to become ‘Apprenticeship Ambassadors’ providing them with opportunities to talk about Apprenticeships to young people at careers events around the county.

Sally Andreou, OxLEP’s Skills Hub Manager said: “It was fantastic to celebrate not only the achievements of Oxfordshire’s talented Apprentices but also those that support them. This includes the vital role that both schools and employers play in helping young people to prepare for the world of work through initiatives such as work experience.”

The awards are led and sponsored by employers, with sponsoring businesses judging and awarding the winners. The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) were the headline sponsor this year, with Barclays, Blenheim, Clarkson Evans and Oxford Brookes University being among the other sponsors. If you’re interested in sponsoring the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards 2020, which will take place on Thursday 2nd April at Williams F1, please contact Melanie Ringer on 07880 042658 or email

For a list of winners and finalists, please see:

Branding Star

Back in 2017, B4’s Marketing Executive Emma Davis volunteered as the Design Sponsor for the distinguished event, the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards. As a new employee in the design world the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards provided Emma with the unique experience of introducing and developing an exciting new brand. This involved designing the awards banners, awards programme and their official logo; the stylish logo design depicting both the rural and city aspects of Oxfordshire within a star to represent the shining star Apprentices who are recognised by the awards. This year Emma’s services were once again requested allowing her to continue work for the awards, using her now strong design skills to produce the awards brochure for a third consecutive year.

B4 is supported by

KingerleeJames White Sales SuccessJames White Sales SuccessBeard logoRoyal Cars logoHoliday Inn Oxford logoStorm Internet logoCherwell College Oxford logoOxford Brookes Business School logoOxford Bus Company logoOxford Professional Consulting logoHawkwell House logoYou HR Consultancy logoWellers logoBlake Morgan LLP logoAston and James Office Supplies logo