London Borough Apprenticeship Awards celebrate diversity and excellence

  • By AnaBaric

London Councils is proud to hold the 2019 London Borough Apprenticeships Awards, which recognise the outstanding contribution and impact apprentices make across London local government.

The awards also celebrate the work of the London boroughs, which offer impressive apprenticeship opportunities that enrich and empower their communities.

This year brings a particularly diverse cohort of winners, including a council worker using his personal experience of homelessness to help others, an apprentice who began her career in carpentry while caring for her three children as a single parent, and a manager offering apprenticeship ‘tasters’ to people with learning difficulties, disabilities and health conditions.

Boroughs are committed to creating employment and training opportunities through apprenticeships. Since 2010, London Councils has organised the London Borough Apprenticeship Awards to celebrate this important work. This year’s awards have been sponsored by Oracle.

Cllr. Georgia Gould, Deputy Chair of London Councils and executive member for Skills and Employment, said:

“London Councils is proud to recognise the talented people that apprenticeships attract and nurture through the 2019 London Borough Apprenticeships Awards.

“Apprenticeships are powerful examples of what local government can do to strengthen the community it represents and serves. These programmes create meaningful opportunities for individuals of all ages, levels of experience, and backgrounds, providing invaluable upskilling and training for a diverse number of career paths.

 “The apprentices and councils that have won this year’s awards demonstrate how hard-working, talented, and passionate the individuals who take on and support apprenticeships are. The London Borough Apprenticeships Awards are also a testament to the outstanding levels of support and training that councils provide, ensuring their communities can be enriched and empowered through skills development and training.”

The number of apprentices boroughs have recruited directly increased by 36% in 2018-19 compared to the previous year, further evidencing the value of apprenticeships. This follows an 81% increase between 2016-17 and 2017-18, since the introduction of the apprenticeship levy.

Boroughs are creating more higher-level apprenticeship opportunities than in the past and the ages of apprentices are becoming more varied, with a growth in borough apprentices over the age of 25. This has made apprenticeships with London boroughs invaluable experiences for those seeking to change their careers or develop their skills through both classroom teaching and on-the-job training.


Notes to Editors:

  1. The 2019 ceremony was held in Apothecary’s Hall on the 3 September 2019, at 14:30. The event was sponsored by Oracle.
  2. Full details of the 2019 London Borough Apprenticeships Awards are below:

Apprentice of the Year: Danny Dowling - London Borough of Southwark

Best Contribution by a New Apprentice: Tony McKenzie - London Borough of Hackney

Best Progression by an Apprentice: Nicola Monks - London Borough of Camden

Highly Commended Progression by an Apprentice: Wesley Sinfield - London Borough of Barnet

Best Apprentice Working in the Supply Chain: Usama Mohamed - London Borough of Islington

Best Manager or Mentor: Richard Merritt - London Borough of Camden

Best Work with Supply Chains and Local Businesses - London Borough of Southwark

Highly Commended Work with Supply Chains and Local Businesses - London Borough of Camden

Apprentice of the Year – Danny Dowling (London Borough of Southwark)

Danny Dowling secured the rare opportunity to change his career as a roofer after a serious injury. Following completion of his advanced customer service apprenticeship in 2018, he joined a pilot at the forefront of the Council’s new approach to consolidating debt using automated technology. He is now a Revenues Officer. Last year, Danny outperformed all experienced income officers within the department, and completed the second highest number of activities on a Housing system.

Best Contribution by a New Apprentice – Tony McKenzie (London Borough of Hackney)

Tony McKenzie is a Housing Advice and Homelessness Apprentice in Hackney Council’s Benefits and Housing Needs service. Tony joined the Council in January 2018, and is nearing completion of his Level 3 Housing and Property Management qualification. He joined as part of a cohort of apprentices who had personal experience of homelessness or housing issues. This experience has helped him engage with a vulnerable population with dignity and respect.

Best Progression by an Apprentice – Nicola Monks (London Borough of Camden)

Nicola, a mother of three caring for her children as a single parent, was determined to work in construction. She started from scratch, joining a level 1 course at Kings Cross where she learnt the basics of plumbing, carpentry, bricklaying and electrics. Soon afterwards, her talents were recognised when she was successful in joining Camden Council’s Repairs team. She has progressed to a level 3 apprenticeship, and stands out due to her passion, determination and excellent work ethic, managing a full-time job alongside parenting commitments. She has also delivered presentations as part of International Women’s Day and at the launch of the London Skills Strategy.

Highly Commended – Wesley Sinfield (London Borough of Barnet)

When he was 17 years old, Wesley successfully completed his AAT Level 2 and 3.  An academic high achiever, he could easily have gone to a major accountancy firm. Luckily for Barnet Council, he applied his skills to the public sector. He joined the council in September 2017, and is now working on his Level 7 Internal Audit & Anti-Fraud apprenticeship. He is the only Level 7 apprentice at the Council, save for an Assistant Director. Wesley has been recognised for demonstrating maturity, professionalism and a work ethic beyond his age and experience. 

Best Apprentice Working in the Supply Chain – Usama Mohamed (London Borough of Islington)

Usama Mohamed is a Trainee Site Manager Apprentice Surveyor at the Level 4 Higher Level Apprenticeship. He works with the Osborne Group on a major construction project regenerating the Andover estate in Finsbury Park, converting garages into social housing and affordable workspaces. He has become a role model for the BAME community and young people at risk, and directly referred young people to Islington Working Employment Support Services.

Best Manager or Mentor– Richard Merritt (London Borough of Camden)

Customer Services Manager Richard Merritt has been a committed supporter of apprenticeships for the past five years. He has taken an open-minded and progressive view to recruitment and ensures flexible, part-time hours are available for those with caring responsibilities. He also offers apprenticeship ‘tasters’ to people with learning difficulties, disabilities and health conditions, helping to make the Council a more familiar and less intimidating place. Since 2014, Richard has recruited 13 apprentices, more than any other manager.

Best Work with Supply Chains and Local Businesses – London Borough of Southwark

Apprenticeships are at the heart of Southwark Council’s commitment to creating a full employment borough. Between 2014 and 2018, Southwark achieved unrivalled success in delivering 2,000 apprenticeships by working with local businesses and contractors. During 2018-19, an impressive 85% of apprenticeships created through the supply chain in London were delivered in Southwark. Southwark’s partnership with London South Bank University has also led to the opening of a new High Level Technical and Professional Apprenticeship Centre. It is expected to deliver more than 200 apprenticeships each year.

Highly Commended – London Borough of Camden

Camden Council is committed to ensuring that they achieve meaningful apprenticeship opportunities for residents. They do so by embedding apprenticeship clauses in their supply chain contracts. In 2018/19, they negotiated 61 apprenticeship opportunities via a local supply chain. Camden Council has also demonstrated the benefits of paying the London Living Wage, and have begun ring-fencing roles for people with disabilities and long-term health conditions, giving as many individuals as possible the chance to succeed.

  1. For more information on the London Borough Apprenticeship Awards, click here to visit the London Councils website.