Student fights back against the odds to win at Business Awards
Links between employers, employees and education were celebrated at Weston-super-Mare’s Winter Gardens as Weston College held its annual Business Awards.
The gala ceremony, held on Thursday June 12, saw businesses from across the region honoured for their partnership work with the College, along with the individual efforts of Apprentices and other employees.
One of the night’s biggest winners was James Childs, an employee at Whitecross Bakery in Weston.
The 23-year-old won both the Hospitality and Catering Learner of the Year and the Principal’s Award for Learner of the Year after guests heard of his struggle against the odds.
James had severe dyslexia and was also diagnosed with a serious medical condition that required two major operations.
Despite this, his work at the bakery, which is owned by his grandmother Iris Hobb, has been outstanding.
He comments: “It’s been an amazing night. These awards are so unexpected and I’m over the moon to have won.
“I’ve just finished my Apprenticeship with Weston College and it was really worth dong because it’s taught me so much about the business side of running a bakery.
“Even in family-run concerns it’s important to have qualifications so that you can take the business forward.”
Another of the night’s big winners was medical products distributor Freelance Surgical, based in Wrington.
The company took both the Apprentice Ambassador Award and Principal’s Award for Employer of the Year. Freelance Surgical has had four Weston College apprentices and continues to work in close partnership with the College
Former Weston College Beauty Therapy student Kelly Hooper went on to open The Barn beauty salon in Badgworth, near Axbridge, and has just won a national Salon of the Year award.
She walked away with the Principal’s Award for Outstanding Success.
She said: “I’m so pleased to have won this award and it’s been an amazing year for us. One of my former tutors, Tanita Veal, now works with us on the Apprenticeships side and it’s great to maintain such good relationships with College staff. The support we get from the College is excellent.”
Guest speakers during the evening included Mike Jackson, Chief Executive of North Somerset Council, who said that apprenticeships have a key part to play in new opportunities for business in the area.