Adam Burgoyne, who is a New Product Engineer at metal pressings and stamping specialist Brandauer, was named as the ‘Outstanding Apprentice of the Year’ after earlier picking up the title of ‘Learner of the Year for Engineering & Manufacturing Technologies’.

The double-haul marks the 21-year-old’s impressive development and his role in helping to identify the measurement equipment required to secure the company’s first ever pharma contract for the Middle East - a project that could be worth in excess of £1m annually.

He was joined on stage by his colleague James Arnold, who impressed judges with his maturity and determination to drive sales at sister business CB Cable Clips to take the ‘Learner of the Year - Business Support Award’.

Employer of the Year was won by Black Country’s Fablink UK, a specialist manufacturer of metal pressings, operator cab assemblies, fuel and hydraulic tanks and complex structures.

The Wolverhampton-based firm, which also has facilities in Northampton and Darlington, currently employs 20 apprentices - making up 5% of its permanent workforce.

It works tirelessly to promote vocational learning in schools and has introduced a new Senior Manager apprenticeship programme to help it highlight the career progression available for people joining the business.

Bekki Phillips, joint Managing Director at In-Comm Training, commented: “There has been a lot of negativity surrounding Apprenticeships this year, with the national media quick to put the proverbial boot into the Levy and how it is failing employers across the UK.

“Talk of the number of ‘starts’ being down and large businesses turning the back on vocational training have dominated the headlines, but that’s only part of the story and last week we had the opportunity to tell the other half.

“The annual In-Comm Training Awards provides a fantastic platform to even the playing field and inform people about the amazing things that are happening in the West Midlands and highlight the companies that deliver anything from outstanding professional services advice to those making components that help drive the latest aircraft, cars and medical innovations.”

She continued: “We recognised and celebrated the best of the region’s vocational talent… the stars of business and industry and, more than likely, the business leaders of the future that are helping their employers work smarter, launch new products and services and, importantly, increase sales.”

Other winners at the In-Comm Awards 2019 included:

  • Learner of the Year – Management & Leadership: Adam Strong (Top Tubes)
  • Learner of the Year – Continuous Improvement: Jade Higgins (FBC Manby Bowdler)
  • Learner of the Year AMTC (MCMT): Tyler Cadwallader (Bridgnorth Aluminium)
  • Apprentice Ambassador of the Year – David Latham (Liberty Pressings)
  • Most Improved Learner – Ryan Lenton-Kane (IMI Precision Engineering)

Headline sponsor for the event was the Engineering Technology Group (ETG), one of the UK’s leading machine tools suppliers. Chloe Reeve, Technical Co-ordinator and former apprentice, was one of the judges for this year’s competition.

“I’m very passionate about the importance of vocational learning and ensuring more young people see it as a credible alternative to going to University, giving them the same career progression and opportunity to study towards a degree.

“The quality of entries just keeps getting better and better and the winners, highly commended and nominees are exactly the type of ambassadors we need to put apprentices on the map through tales of boosting sales, introducing money-saving processes and, importantly, acting as role models for the next generation.”

She concluded: “It can be hard to find the right fit when you are first starting out in engineering. However, getting to know each department - as you would in an apprenticeship - provides that extra bit of information and experience. It also gives you a feel of real life and the potential for your future development.”

Over 300 people attended the In-Comm Training Awards, held for the second time at the ICC in Birmingham.

Guests were given an insight into the latest developments at In-Comm Training, before being entertained by West Midlands historian Professor Carl Chinn.

Sponsors for the evening included Black Country Chamber of Commerce, Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills, FBC Manby Bowdler, In-Comm Training & Manufacturing Group, Made in the Midlands, MTD CNC, MyWorkwear, Rational FX and Wieland.