Apprentices take centre stage


STARS: Winners of the 2024 Dorset Apprenticeship Awards with dignitaries. From left are Rod Davis (Dorset and Somerset Training Provider Network), guest speaker Sonnaz Nooranvary, Superior Ltd managing director Tim Brown, Dorset Chamber chief executive Ian Girling, Advanced Apprentice of the Year winner Ellie Hubble (Redtale Group), Intermediate Apprentice of the Year Sergejs Murnikovs (Hendy Group), Higher and Degree Apprentice of the Year Elliott Smith (Draken) and HM Lord Lieutenant of Dorset Angus Campbell.

Dorset’s brightest business talents shone at the Dorset Apprenticeship Awards in May, where a trio of outstanding apprentices received top honours amid a gathering of local dignitaries, including the Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset Angus Campbell and BBC’s The Repair Shop star Sonnaz Nooranvary. The event was held at sponsor
Superior Ltd’s Academy in Ferndown, and was organised by Dorset Chamber in collaboration with the Dorset and Somerset Training Provider Network.
Ian Girling, chief executive of the Dorset Chamber, praised the pivotal role of apprentices: ‘Apprentices are the lifeblood of our businesses, forming the next generation of leaders. The talent and dedication displayed by our winners and finalists assure us that the future of business is in capable hands.’
Sonnaz Nooranvary, delivering the keynote address, told the room that this year’s awards saw a record number of entries. Sonnaz moved to Dorset as a teenager when she was offered an apprenticeship with Sunseeker International Ltd. She’s a well-known advocate of apprenticeships – she told The BV: ‘I think that it should be law that everyone must have an apprentice – my apprenticeship really changed my life.’
She’s the resident upholstery expert on The Repair Shop, and runs her own interiors brand, ‘House of Sonnaz’.
The Apprenticeship Awards ceremony recognised talents across several categories. Sergejs Murnikovs won Intermediate Apprentice of the Year for his exceptional skills and professional approach in the automotive field with the Hendy Group, and was described by his manager as someone who will be ‘top of the tree in his field of expertise’ in a few years. Ellie Hubble clinched the Advanced Apprentice of the Year title for her impactful contributions to the Redtale Group in Dorchester, where she is pursuing a Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship. Elliott Smith, an aerospace engineering apprentice with Draken, was awarded Higher and Degree Apprentice of the Year for consistently exceeding expectations and demonstrating outstanding diligence.
The Dorset Apprenticeship Awards celebrate the vital role apprentices play in the local economy. Ian Girling said, ’Judging was incredibly difficult and richly deserved congratulations go to all of our winners for their success as well as to all of the finalists for showing just how valuable and important apprenticeships are.


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