WEC Group celebrates 10 successful years of its apprentice Training Academy.

WEC Group Ltd celebrated the success of its Training Academy apprentices at the annual Apprentice of the Year Awards on Thursday 24 November.

This year's awards evening held at the Whitehall Hotel, Darwen was also a special occasion as it marked 10 years since the Academy first opened its doors.

The Apprentice of the Year awards ceremony is designed to recognise the success of WEC Group's welding/fabrication, CNC machining, technical production engineering and business administration apprentices.

For the first time since it opened in 2015, WEC Group also celebrated the success of its apprentices at the new Training Academy at MTL Advanced in Rotherham.

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

Kris Mercer, Training & Development Manager said: "Our apprentice of the year awards is always a testament to the amount of effort and commitment the students put into their work every day.

"This year's event also marked the academy's ten year anniversary which is a success in itself. Since being opened in 2006, we have increased our workforce from 225 employees to almost 800 as a result of the training programme.

"Our apprentices are an exceptionally talented group of people and it's important that we continue to reward them for their hard work and talents."

Further awards were presented based on the apprentices' success at the WorldSkills UK competition in Construction Metalwork, bringing home gold and bronze medals for the second year in a row.

Gold medallist, Chris Taylor, scored 91.25% with the five other apprentices Jonathan Holding, Sam Carter, Ryan Thompson, Philip Hosey and Tyler Atkinson (WEC Group's Apprentice of the Year 2016) not far behind.

Chris Eady, Associate Director for Professional Affairs and Certification at The Welding Institute (TWI) was the guest speaker at the event and praised the training programme set up by WEC Group.

He said: "WEC Training Academy delivers the knowledge, skills, experience and behaviours that develop competence. Third party certification by TWI CL recognises that competence, and WEC Group achievements in production, social projects, and skills competitions demonstrates it.

"With WEC products expected to fly into space, maybe the sky isn't the limit for WEC Apprentices."

Also in attendance were the Blackburn with Darwen Mayor, Cllr Hussain Akhtar, as well as representatives from industry bodies and local colleges.

Photographs from the evening are available to browse below: