An ambulance support worker has been named Birmingham Apprentice of the Year at the first Ladder for Birmingham Apprenticeship Awards.
Kevin Naylor (pictured) joined West Midlands Ambulance Service following the acquisition of his company and, despite having no formal qualifications, has thrown himself into his studies as a health and social care apprentice.
Kevin, 52, works with high-dependency patients such as those referred to A&E by their GP or those being transferred between hospitals.
He was named the overall winner at the Ladder for Birmingham Apprenticeship Awards, held at Edgbaston Stadium last night, which celebrated the region’s top apprentices, their employers and the organisations helping them succeed.
The awards recognised apprentices across six individual categories while a further five celebrated employers and training providers.
Kevin was named Outstanding Apprentice of the Year in the Public and Charitable Sector before being chosen ahead of the five other individual category winners to be crowned overall Birmingham Apprentice of the Year.
The awards are part of the Ladder for Greater Birmingham campaign which aims to create 1,000 new apprenticeships in Birmingham and Solihull.
Kevin Davis, chief executive of The Vine Trust and chairman of the Ladder Awards judging panel, said: “It’s a well-worn cliché but our judges really did have a torrid time picking our winners.
“So big congratulations must go to all of them but especially Kevin Naylor, our apprentice of the year.
“The judges were so impressed with the way he has reinvented himself to start a new career and his triumph at the awards goes to show you are never too old to learn new skills via an apprenticeship.
“The team running the awards and wider Ladder campaign are passionate advocates for the apprenticeship model and reading all the nominations ahead of judging reaffirmed our commitment to the benefits of vocational training.”
The full list of winners at the Ladder for Birmingham Apprenticeship Awards are:
Outstanding Apprentice of the Year – Health, Education & Care, sponsored by Skillsfirst
Elle-Marie Reid, Bumble Bees Nursery
Outstanding Apprentice of the Year – Construction, sponsored by Reach Solutions
Victoria Smith, Cushman and Wakefield
Outstanding Apprentice of the Year – Public & Charitable Sector and Birmingham Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by BirminghamLive
Kevin Naylor, West Midlands Ambulance Service
Outstanding Apprentice of the Year – Engineering & Manufacturing, sponsored by The Ladder Apprenticeship Foundation
Ritik Sharma, Hydraforce Hydraulics
Outstanding Apprentice of the Year – Financial & Business Services, sponsored by Supermeal
Freya Lyndon, Adecco Group UK
Outstanding Apprentice of the Year – Creative & Digital, sponsored by Network Integrity Services
Harry Chafer, Pulsar UK
Small Employer of the Year (1-50 staff), sponsored by Co-Eng
WS Cleaning Solutions
Medium Employer of the Year (51-249 staff), sponsored by BCTG
Chase Terrace Technology College
Large Employer of the Year (250+ staff), sponsored by West Midlands Apprenticeship Ambassador Network
Birmingham Apprenticeship Training Provider of the Year, sponsored by BusinessLive
Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust
Schools Engagement Award, sponsored by Birmingham and Solihull Training Provider Network
The Ladder initiative is run by community development group The Vine Trust and training provider Performance Through People with funding from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP and Birmingham and Solihull Training Provider Network, with BirminghamLive as media partner.
Katie Trout, director of Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “The Ladder for Birmingham Apprenticeship Awards are a wonderful demonstration of the high-level of talent in our region and highlight the life-changing impact apprenticeships can have on both our residents and businesses across a full breadth of sectors.
“Huge congratulations to all of the finalists and winners, in particular to Kevin Naylor on becoming Birmingham Apprentice of the Year.
“The Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP is delighted to support Ladder for Greater Birmingham, a scheme that both upskills the local population and increases the talent pool available to local businesses.”