WEC Group celebrated the success of its apprentices at the annual awards ceremony.

WEC Group Ltd celebrated the success of its Training Academy apprentices at the annual Apprentice of the Year Awards on 3rd December.

The awards evening held at Whitehall Hotel, Darwen is designed to recognise the success of our welding/fabrication, CNC machining and new business administration apprentices.

Students were presented with awards based on their commitment, academic achievements as well as welding and machining excellence. We also awarded apprentices who have successfully completed the five year course with an attendance bonus that they accumulated during their time as an apprentice.

Kris Mercer, Training and Development Manager said: "The Apprentice of the Year Awards is a tribute to the amount of effort and commitment our apprentices put into their work.

"They are an exceptionally talented group of young people and it's important to reward them for their efforts."

This year's awards ceremony was also an opportunity for the apprentices to celebrate their success at the WorldSkills UK final, after scooping Gold and Bronze medals in Construction Metalwork.

18-year-old Thomas Woodburn won Gold after scoring 93.5%, the highest score ever recorded in the UK. He will now spend the next two years preparing for the opportunity to represent the UK in Abu Dhabi as part of "Squad UK" in 2017.

This year's event also marked a special occasion after WEC Group Managing Director Steve Hartley was presented with an "Honorary Apprenticeship" award from the Director of Themis, Simon Jordan.

A Themis Honorary Apprenticeship is awarded to an individual that has served an Apprenticeship and/or has had significant involvement in shaping the development of Apprenticeships within their workplace. There's only a handful in existence and they awarded based on recommendations and testimonials.

Simon Jordan commented: "Steve was presented with the accolade due to his vision, commitment to apprenticeships and the desire he demonstrates wanting his staff to develop to their full potential."

Over 55 percent of the Group's total welding workforce in Darwen is now made up of apprentices, highlighting the success of the program which was set up in 2006 to close in the industry's skill gap and provide individuals in the local area with Engineering skills.

We are extremely proud of our apprenticeship program and recognise the contribution this makes to employment in Blackburn with Darwen and the surrounding area, providing skills to young people who may not otherwise get the opportunity.

Next year, the Apprentice of the Year Awards ceremony will also celebrate the success of our brand new Training Academy at MTL Advanced in Rotherham.

MTL is currently training six welding/fabrication apprentices at our state-of-the-art facility. We are planning to expand the apprentice workforce in Rotherham next year as well as introducing laser cutting and CNC machining apprenticeships.

Photographs from the evening are available to browse below: