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Images for National Apprenticeship Week For Sanctuary Group Photo: Ed Maynard 07976 239803 www.edmaynard.com This image is © Ed Maynard and licensed to Sanctuary Group and may only be used to illustrate the accompanying Sanctuary Group press release. Not for use outside of these terms in any media (print, web or broadcast) without permission. No re-use. No re-sale. No archiving.

It’s been a whirlwind year since I was named the Worcestershire Apprentice of the Year winner back in November 2017 – I can’t believe the last 12 months have gone so quickly.

During that time I have been able to promote apprenticeships across the county and beyond, attending careers events and taking part in various training courses through my employer, Sanctuary Group, Worcestershire Apprenticeships and the Young Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (YAAN).

The opportunity to meet so many talented, motivated people and share my positive experiences of apprenticeships has been a real highlight of my year.

With Worcestershire Apprenticeships I have been able to go to the Worcestershire Skills Show held at the Chateau Impney, Haybridge Sixth Form, Kidderminster Rugby Club and the Worcestershire Apprenticeships Show at Sixways Stadium, to name but a few.

I was also invited to visit Worcester Sixth Form College and give a presentation in front of students and parents on why I would personally recommend an apprenticeship and all the benefits that I have seen from my own experience as an apprentice.

Attending these events, it has been very evident that apprenticeships are no longer seen as ‘the easier route’ and are now something that young people and parents take very seriously.

There are now more degree and higher level apprenticeships readily available for students post sixth form, further increasing the options available and, for me, showing just how far apprenticeships in Worcestershire have progressed in the last few years.

It has been a privilege to be part of events like these and I would like to say a big thank you to Kim Cook and the team at Worcestershire Apprenticeships for the support and opportunities that they have given to me.

The last 12 months have also been an exciting and rewarding time in my own career at Sanctuary.

With the support of my line managers as well as our Learning and Development and Resourcing departments I have given presentations in front of senior management, taken part in Q&A sessions with Group directors and attended networking events.

As part of my ongoing apprenticeship I have also had the opportunity to rotate teams, giving me more exposure to higher level accounting, increased responsibility and a greater understanding of how the business operates.

Being the Worcestershire Apprentice of the Year has been an incredible and unforgettable experience and I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and been involved in helping shape my career to date. Thanks in particular go to Michelle Wood, Annette Cattermole, Sam Cale, Nikki Clay and everyone in the Learning Academy at Sanctuary and the team at Worcestershire Group Training Association (WGTA).

It only remains for me to wish my successor congratulations and good luck and to say a big thank you to everyone who has read this blog and followed my posts. It has been an absolute pleasure.

For regular updates, follow @No1_Apprentice on Twitter.

Ben