National Apprenticeship Awards 2023

WEC Group Receives Highly Commended Award at National Apprenticeship Awards 2023

Lancashire based WEC Group once again enjoyed a successful night at the National Apprenticeship Awards, held in London on Wednesday 29th November. The fabrication and welding specialist company received the Highly Commended Award in the British Army Large Employer of the Year category. This recognition follows on from their triumph at the regional North West Awards finals in October, beating many larger organisations from the region to the title.

The National Apprenticeship Awards recognise and reward the achievements of exceptional apprentices, apprenticeship champions and employers from around the country. The awards celebrated their 20th anniversary this this year, with the WEC Group having won the large employer award seven times in the last nine years, also winning the national award in 2020.

The awards ceremony was hosted by journalist and TV presenter, Steph McGovern, who started her own career as an engineering apprentice. Steph, who has hosted the awards on a number of occasions, is a champion for apprenticeships and uses her own career success to highlight the different career paths available upon completion of an apprenticeship.

Receiving the Highly Commended Award at the ceremony, WEC’s Engineering Academy Manager Kris Mercer said “We are delighted to once again receive recognition for our commitment to apprenticeships and the local community. Having won the North West award to be recognised nationally is extra special, particularly given the National Apprenticeship Awards are celebrating their 20th year. As a business we are committed to developing the next generation of world class engineers, the development of our state-of-the-art training academy has enabled us to increase our apprentice intake to provide increased employment opportunities to young people”

In September 2022 the group opened their own state-of-the-art engineering training academy at Walker Park, Blackburn. The facility, financed by WEC Group Managing Director Steve Hartley without Government funding, cost £3 million with the construction process taking two years, part of the build being undertaken by WEC apprentices.

This year the WEC Group also successfully joined the Apprenticeship Provider and Assessment Register (APAR) as an employer provider. By joining APAR, the Group now has full control over its apprenticeship programmes, without the reliance on external bodies for accreditation.

WEC Group’s current workforce is a testament to their commitment to apprenticeships, with over 50% of their welding workforce in Lancashire are now current or former apprentices trained at their in-house Engineering Academy. The Company are extremely proud to have had their Apprenticeship programme recognised once again and bring the Highly Commended title back to the North West. This award demonstrates their long-term commitment to tackle the skills gap within the manufacturing industry in the UK.