Kash Watkins of Ashton scaffolding wins construction apprentice of the year

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Business Awards Celebrate Talent Across the Region

Weston-super-Mare’s prestigious Winter Gardens venue played host to the highly anticipated Weston College Business Awards last night.

See some images of the awards night here.

The event brought together 250 distinguished guests for an inspiring celebration of learners and local employers who have worked closely with the college to offer work-placed opportunities to people taking their first steps in their career.

The Winter Gardens was transformed into a hub of excitement and anticipation as attendees, including prominent figures from the local business community, educators, and local dignitaries, gathered to honour the outstanding achievements and commitment of individuals and businesses alike.

The attendees were treated to a motivational speech by Paralympic Gold medallist, Andy Lewis. His remarkable journey as an athlete and unwavering determination left a lasting impact on the audience.

Principal and CEO of Weston College Group, Sir Paul Phillips, who hosted the awards, said: “This year we received a record number of nominations and, while this made judging an unenviable task, it highlights the wealth of talent among our learners and the level of dedication and expertise within our employer network. 

“It was fantastic to celebrate the many successes of our work-based learners, who show outstanding commitment to their programmes. They are truly a credit to the College and their employers.   

“Working with key employers is critical for our local region, and it was a pleasure to recognise so many brilliant businesses.   

“I would like to say congratulations to all of our winners, who we are delighted to work closely with.”

The awards were presented across various categories, honouring exceptional apprentices, trainees, and industry placement learners who had demonstrated outstanding dedication and made significant contributions to their respective fields.

Winner of the Digital Apprentice of the Year Awards, Toby from Visit Somerset, said: “To be nominated for Digital Apprentice of the Year is mind blowing and to be recognised at these awards is a big accomplishment.

“I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone looking to earn and learn at the same time. It has given me an opportunity to start my career and learn new skills for the workplace, but also personal skills such as self-confidence.”

The Overall Learner of the Year, Jess from VADO, added: “My apprenticeship provided me with a great opportunity to learn and develop. If I ever had any questions the team at Weston College were brilliant, they were easy to contact and always on hand to support.

“Once I completed my apprenticeship I was given a promotion as well, which was great!”

Additionally, employers were acknowledged for their unwavering commitment to fostering a culture of learning and providing valuable opportunities to their workforce.

Matt Carpenter, from Future Stars Coaching, said: “We have been taking on apprentices for well over five years, and recently started taking on traineeships with Weston College. Every time I come to Weston College they seem to better themselves! It has been a brilliant night, with a brilliant guest speaker, and to come away with two awards (Traineeship Employer of the Year, and Josh winning Health, Sport and Community Apprentice of the Year) has been fantastic.”

Business Award winners list:


  • Business, Finance and Professional Services Apprentice of the Year – Ruby from Thatchers Cider
  • Construction Apprentice of the Year – Kash from Ashton Scaffolding Services
  • Digital Apprentice of the Year – Toby from Visit Somerset
  • Hair and Beauty Apprentice of the Year – Courtney from Serenity Hair & Beauty
  • Health, Sport and Community Apprentice of the Year – Josh from Future Starts Coaching
  • Industry Placement Learner of the Year – Christiana from University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW)
  • Into Work Learner of the Year – George from Southern Co-op and Dunstan House Inn
  • Leadership and Management Apprentice of the Year – Jess from VADO
  • Luke Wheaton Engineering Apprentice of the Year – Jonah from Rolls Royce
  • Motor Vehicle Apprentice of the Year – Corey from Andy Hall Cars
  • Pre-employment Learner of the Year – Lee
  • Service Sectors Apprentice of the Year – Christie from Weston College
  • Traineeship Learner of the Year – Lavar from UHBW


  • Career Excellence Hub Employer of the Year – Hinkley Point C
  • Inclusive Practice Employer of the Year – Puxton Park
  • Industry Placement Employer of the Year – UHBW
  • Large Employer of the Year – Avon Fire & Rescue
  • Medium Employer of the Year – Thatchers Cider
  • Pre-employment Employer of the Year – Somerset NHS Trust
  • Small Employer of the Year – The Ginger Pig Kitchen
  • Sustainability Partner of the Year – Burnham and Weston Energy
  • Traineeship Employer of the Year – Future Stars Coaching
  • Work Experience Employer of the Year – Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

Overall Learner of the Year – Jess from VADO

Overall Employer of the Year – Avon Fire & Rescue

A big thank you to our sponsors, who have made this event possible: Honeyfield Property Services, Ashton Gate, Inspired Worx, Pace, Image Sign, Mindful Education, Gravity, and Puxton Park.

If you are passionate about education and are looking for an opportunity to join the staff team at a leading college, then look at the latest job vacancies available at Weston College here. You can find all the latest job opportunities that Weston College has to offer, with a commitment to providing quality education to students and a focus on continuous professional development for staff, Weston College is an excellent place to work and grow in your career.