Scottish Apprenticeship Awards 2019

Celebrating the best of work-based learning


Now in its 18th year, the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards brings together apprentices, employers and learning providers from all over Scotland to celebrate the contribution apprenticeships make to the economy.  

As well as recognising the achievements of Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprentices themselves, awards will applaud individuals who champion apprenticeships.

Employers of all sizes will also be recognised, including those who can demonstrate diversity in their recruitment of apprentices.  

Winners will be revealed at this year's glittering ceremony in November. One will be named Scotland’s Apprentice of the Year 2019. 

Nominations for 2019 are now closed

After a record-breaking amount of entries, nominations for this year's awards are now closed. We will announce our finalists in August. You can read all about our award categories below.

Awards categories 2019


Apprentice Ambassador of the Year

This award is for former Modern Apprentices who have made exceptional achievements since their completion and who continue to champion apprenticeships.


Foundation Apprentice of the Year

This category showcases the dedication and achievements of apprentices who have chosen the Foundation Apprenticeship route to progress their career.


Modern Apprentice of the Year - SCQF Level 5

This category showcases the dedication and commitment of apprentices who have chosen the Modern Apprenticeship route to progress their career.


Modern Apprentice of the Year - SCQF Level 6+

This category showcases the dedication and commitment of apprentices who have chosen the Modern Apprenticeship route to progress their career.


Graduate Apprentice Rising Star

This category showcases the dedication and commitment of Graduate Apprentices who have chosen a work-based learning pathway to further their career and who make an active and significant contribution to their organisation’s performance.


Apprentice Instructor of the Year

This award enables employers and learning providers to recognise the significant contribution made by an individual to support apprentices through their apprenticeship.


SME Employer of the Year

This award acknowledges the commitment and support of apprenticeships demonstrated by SME employers, including public sector, with fewer than 250 employees. This category allows you to showcase your business’ achievements and demonstrate your commitment to apprenticeships.


Large Employer of the Year

This award acknowledges the commitment and support of apprenticeships demonstrated by large employers, including public sector, with more than 250 employees. This category allows you to showcase your business’ achievements and demonstrate your commitment to apprenticeships.

Entry rules

Read the rules for submitting your nomination for the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards 2019.

Last year's winners:

Foundation Apprentice of the Year


Fraser Wallace

Engineering, GE Caledonian

Fraser Wallace’s Foundation Apprenticeship with Ayrshire College included working at Prestwick’s GE Caledonian and lead to him being offered an engineering Modern Apprenticeship. 

Greenwood Academy pupil Fraser liked the idea of problem solving, working with his hands and on-the-job learning while earning.  

The 18-year-old said: “I chose engineering because it was always something I was interested in. All the people at GE Caledonian are very supportive and, if you ask, they are willing to help you as much as they can.” 

GE Caledonian’s Stephen McNab said: “Fraser had a genuine interest and passion and really excelled. He was one of the top performers in his year.”

Modern Apprentice of the Year - SCQF level 5


Robert McLatchie

Scottish Leather Group

The invaluable skills and confidence Robert McLatchie gained from his Modern Apprenticeship with the Scottish Leather Group have led to a Graduate Apprenticeship. 

The 20-year-old from Port Glasgow surpassed the expectations of his manager, by displaying a passion for physics, drive and commitment and a great work ethic. 

The former Port Glasgow High School pupil has now progressed to an Engineering Design and Manufacturing Graduate Apprenticeship with the Bridge of Weir leather manufacturer through the University of Strathclyde. 

On receiving his accolade, Robert said: “I think that for all involved there must be a massive thank you as I could not have managed this without their help and guidance throughout my apprenticeship. Receiving this recognition has helped me so far in my career as I am being sent to university to complete a Graduate Apprenticeship in Engineering: Design and Manufacture which is a great course to be participating in."


Modern Apprentice of the Year - SCQF level 6+


Lorena Cocozza

Financial Services, HSBC

Hamilton’s Lorena Cocozza has delivered outstanding service to thousands of HSBC customers as part of her Providing Financial Services Modern Apprenticeship. 

The 20-year-old tried university but decided it wasn’t right for her. She realised she could gain qualifications while earning and doing a job she enjoyed. 

“Liking my job also motivates me to study,” explained the former Our Lady’s High School pupil, who is a finalist in the SCQF Level 6 category of the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.  

Lorena, who is one of 15 apprentices at HSBC in Hamilton, hopes to become a team manager.  

Her manager Nicholas Cooper said: “Lorena, and indeed the whole apprenticeship team, has really excelled beyond our expectations. They flew through their apprenticeship because they all worked together and focused on taking the learning on board.” 

Graduate Apprentice Rising Star


Justyna Dabrowska

Engineering: Design & Manufacturing, Peak Scientific Instruments

Having gained an HNC in Engineering Systems at West College Scotland Justyna Dabrowska wanted to pursue an engineering career. 

A Graduate Apprenticeship is giving her the chance get a degree and earn a wage to support her young family.  

The 29-year-old is combining her studies at the University of Strathclyde with ‘real world’ skills and experience at Inchinnan’s Peak Scientific Instruments. 

She said: “It feels special to have my work recognised on a national level.” 

Peak’s manufacturing engineering manager Russell Gillespie said: “Justyna has exceeded expectations, in the quality of her academic work and the way she has adapted to the fresh working environment of a new job.

Apprentice Instructor of the Year


Charlie Murphy

BAE Systems

As Apprentice and Skills Manager for BAE Systems Naval Ships, Charlie is responsible for the delivery of the modern advanced apprenticeship programmes and skills centres in Glasgow, managing a team of 13 specialists. As a qualified welder, assessor and internal verifier, he is responsible for the delivery of apprenticeships for about150 individuals in Glasgow. 

Charlie got involved in apprenticeship coaching after the business recognised his passion for training young people and his wife encouraged him to take up the role being offered. He has now trained more than 1,200 apprentices and relishes the chance to help youngsters starting out on their careers. 

“A lot of my motivation comes from the pride I get at seeing someone get better and more competent and then taking their career forward. My job changes from day to day depending on who I am training and the personalities involved,” said Charlie.

Apprentice Instructor of the Year


Kenny Stewart

FES Group

Kenny Stewart (56) is passionate about the benefits of Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) in his role as training manager at FES Group and the benefits “learning while earning” bring to young people. 

Kenny leads on apprenticeship training for the Stirling-headquartered FES Group. He is responsible for around 140 apprentices at any one time.  

He runs the FES Academy, a training centre designed to enhance the college and on-the-job experience that is part of Modern Apprenticeships. The Academy also assists any apprentice recognised by Kenny as needing special assistance or additional support. 

Apprentice Instructor of the Year


James Swan

GTG Training

GTG Training’s automotive assessor James Swan puts his heart and soul into coaching hundreds of apprentices each year and has trained 10,000 over the course of his career. 

The 62-year-old has worked with apprentices for more than three decades and is delighted to be a Scottish Apprenticeship Awards Apprentice Instructor category finalist. 

“I feel fantastic about being nominated. It’s great to have motivated thousands of people and made a real difference to their lives,” said East Kilbride-based James. 

He explained: “I had a good apprenticeship myself and I’m really motivated about training others.” 

GTG training manager Grant Kidger said: James was my instructor at GTG when I was an apprentice. He is always helping apprentices and other assessors. He always does that extra bit for them and the team.”

SME Employer of the Year


Cortex Worldwide Ltd


Edinburgh-headquartered Cortex Worldwide is a digital technology company that invests time and resources in its apprenticeship programme to help further the careers of the next generation of young people wanting to work in the sector.  

Cortex has a strategic relationship with Microsoft that has led to the development of a new cloud-based marketing solution. 

Cortex employ 28 staff in Scotland, and their Worldwide Apprenticeship Programme gives individuals the opportunity to progress their careers in digital technology outside of the 'traditional' route. The company believes that skills required to survive in today's modern workplace are dynamic, and not just about academic knowledge.  

By investing in future talent, its programme helps address the short, medium and long-term needs of Scotland's digital technology industry by ensuring a skilled and sustainable workforce.

Large Employer of the Year


Arnold Clark

Automotive, Glasgow and Edinburgh

Automotive company Arnold Clark has a long-running commitment to training apprentices and sees such youngsters as the lifeblood of its company and vital to future success. 

It has its own dedicated training business, GTG Training, which it bought in in 2003 and now boasts three centres in the UK, including ones in Glasgow and Edinburgh, which create a self-sustaining talent pool. 

Arnold Clark is a large Scotland-headquartered business which expands into England. It has almost 12,000 employees, 187 branches and 38 rental sites.  

Its apprenticeship scheme is flourishing - growing from 217 vacancies in 2014 to more than 300 this year. It currently has more than 700 apprentices, making up around 7 per cent of its total workforce. 

This year Arnold Clark has 632 apprentices training in Scotland, with 246 Level 3 graduates in technical disciplines. It has broadened its range of apprenticeships to include courses in retailgarage equipment engineeringsecurity systems engineering and IT.

Promoting Diversity - Large Employer


J.P. Morgan

Financial Services, Glasgow

Financial services firm JP Morgan Chase employs over 1,700 people at its hub in Glasgow city centre, including 44 apprentices. 

As well as being committed to taking on apprenticesit also wants to have a diverse workforce. 

Robbie Allan, vice president at JP Morgan, explains:  Diversity is something that’s really important to us and we’re making great progress in this area.”  

The firm says junior talent hiring pipeline is key to its success in Scotland and with this mind it established its apprenticeship programme in 2015 with an intake of seven Modern Apprentices. 

The organisation quickly realised the success of the programme and now offers a Graduate Apprentice honours degree. 

Since 2015, its numbers have increased to 44 apprentices on site, but as a result of the tremendous success of the programme it has offered a total of 24 places for the 2018 cohort alone. 

Robbie says: “In an industry which has traditionally been male dominated, it’s good to see that this year just over half of our apprentices are female. For us to be able to get diversity through apprenticeships is just great.”

Promoting Diversity - SME Employer



Manufacturing, Glasgow

Glasgow-headquartered Rearo Laminates is showing all the right signs for being a successful apprentice employer, supporting its staff to ensure the business has a diverse and inclusive workforce. 

Rearo established its Apprenticeship Programme in 2014 to meet the challenges that arise from being a manufacturing firm which requires specialist skills to ensure a successful future. 

Fiona Kennedy, Rearo marketing co-ordinator, says: “We’re committed to investing in apprentices who bring newly learned techniques into the firm to help address skills shortages. Similarly, with a high degree of technical knowledge required in sales, apprentices are helping to create the next generation of confident, knowledgeable and expert staff in that area.” 

Rearo, which makes innovative bathroom and kitchen products at its 60,000 square feet manufacturing plant in Glasgow, has 100 employees across seven branches. It currently has seven apprentices, five of whom are based in its Glasgow HQ. It runs two types of apprenticeship programmes in its sales and administrative team and within its manufacturing facilities.