The first-ever Apprentice of the Year was recognised at the Aspirational Awards – a national celebration created by the educational charity and leader in vocational and technical learning NCFE, by a learner trained by local apprenticeship training provider Aspire Training Team.
Apprentice of the Year is a new category for the Aspiration Awards 2022, recognising exceptional apprentices for their work, either in their workplace or in relation to their classroom-based learning. Annabelle Palmer-Bennett, who is completing a level 3 apprenticeship in the early years, is this year’s and first ever winner.
After completing the written unit on Equality, Diversity, and Inclusiveness, Annabelle planned an activity to do with the children to promote the concept of British values. It included the children making handprints as part of their ‘Kind Hands’ lesson, listening to a story about democracy, and explaining to them what this big word topic meant. The children were engrossed in the story and illustrations, and they were eager to discuss their thoughts and ideas afterward.
Annabelle said: “I believe education is the single most important thing in the world and having an influence on a younger generation, how they learn and interact and play is rewarding. The children I work with every day motivate me down this path, the people I work with too, and making a difference. And, I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to work with, they make work fun and enjoyable. I’m always supported.”
After completing her apprenticeship six months before the deadline she was able to secure a place at Brockenhurst College to begin a Foundation Degree in Childhood Studies starting in September 2022.
Her tutor from Aspire Training Team, Jane Burrows said: “Every activity I have watched Annabelle carrying out has highlighted clearly her research for entertaining and educational ideas, good resourcing and setting up, and the way she assists the small ones in activities is inspiring and wonderful.”
This year’s Aspiration Awards winners demonstrate how individuals can overcome obstacles to achieve and fulfil their potential – and how a more equitable education system for all students can only serve to strengthen inclusion and choice.