Automotive components company, Nifco, is once again adding to its trophy cabinet after being named North East Large Employer of the Year at today’s (October 6) National Apprenticeship Awards.
The Eaglescliffe business was named winner at the North East, Yorkshire & Humber heat, held in York, which will see the firm put forward for the nationals in January.
The title is the latest in a long line of award wins for the plastics firm.
In addition to taking the top award in the heats, Nifco employee Francesca Clarke, a logistics apprentice at the firm, was awarded highly commended as North East Apprentice of the Year.
Erika Marshall, marketing and communications manager at Nifco, said: “We are absolutely delighted to fly the flag and strongly represent the North East at the National Apprenticeship Awards, and to be bringing home such a prestigious trophy.
“Nifco has a longstanding commitment to apprenticeships and investment in training, so to have that recognised and commended is fantastic and vindicates the effort we have put into encouraging other businesses across the North East to do their bit to recognise the value of apprenticeships and the great opportunities they can lead to – as was documented in the North East England Chamber of Commerce Apprentice Greats book, published in 2015.
“We look forward to the Nationals, and hope to bring back more silverware early in 2017.”
The awards, which are run by the National Apprenticeship Service and are now in their 13th year, recognise employers and apprentices from across England that can demonstrate how apprenticeships have made a real difference to their organisation and careers, while recognising excellent businesses that grow their own talent with apprenticeships and apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.
Mike Matthews, managing director of Nifco and a former apprentice himself, commented: “I am well-known for being an avid supporter of apprenticeships, the benefits they bring to both a business and the apprentices and I am over-the-moon that our team secured such a high profile win – we work hard to promote apprenticeships in schools, in media, in meetings – any opportunity we get because they are vital to promote our local, regional and national economies.
“I have talked at length for many years about the skills-gap which is going to affect all of us, not just in manufacturing but across the whole of business, and apprentices – home-grown talent – are one of the key solutions to this issue.”
Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “The National Apprenticeship Awards enable exceptional apprentices and dedicated employers to receive the recognition they richly deserve. Apprenticeships enable people to gain the skills and knowledge they need to succeed – in some cases up to degree level; and for businesses to grow the talent they need.
“Nifco has won the large employer of the year award for the North east region and I would like to congratulate them on their achievement. Winning this award is greatly deserved. There has never been a better time to become an apprentice or employ one.”
Mike Matthews added: “If 20% of the 70,000 businesses in our region recruited an apprentice – or an additional one if they already do, just think about the difference this would make to our businesses, our region and our future – certainly food for thought and I would encourage all businesses to back apprenticeships”
More than 80 companies and the same number of individuals across the region battle it out over the course of the regional heats, having already been shortlisted from almost 1,000 entries.