Who are this year’s winning apprentices?

A recent spotlight on apprenticeships in the UK has focused attention not only on the vital contribution apprenticeships make to the UK economy and the UK jobs market, but also on just how much talent the UK has on its doorstep. The Government’s commitment to apprenticeships over the past couple of years has seen real value to both young people and employers through the development of core skills and talent to local people across the country.

This week, Microsoft took the opportunity to recognise and celebrate the tremendous commitment of employers and their apprentices, who have developed their skills during tough economic times, at the 2014 Microsoft Apprentice of the Year Awards held in the House of Commons.

The Microsoft apprenticeship programme is part of the company’s commitment to provide the relevant training and skills to young people, and to help build the talent pipeline for the IT industry in the UK. With 93% of Microsoft apprentices staying with partner businesses and moving into fully qualified roles, there are real tangible benefits of apprenticeships to get young people fully on the career ladder.

Thanks goes to host of the evening Andrew Jones MP, Apprenticeship Ambassador in Parliament and winners included employers and apprenticeships from small, medium and large sized employers. The overall winning Microsoft Apprentice of the Year 2014, Alexander Small, was recognised by Microsoft’s partner business Penman IT for showing tremendous talent, dedication and entrepreneurial spirit, to become a trusted and talented employee within the company developing his own products. Alexander told Microsoft that the apprenticeship had made him even more committed to a career in IT providing him with the long-term skills needed to progress.

Apprentices were also given the opportunity to say thank you to their employers and training providers. Hertfordshire’s Cloudamour, the overall winning employer of the night in the small sized employer category, is commended for having 20% of their workforce as apprentices and was nominated for their long-term development plans and excellent training programme with support from their training provider Baltic.

From left to right: Michel Van der Bel, Managing Director, Microsoft UK; Alexander Small (winner), Penman IT; Nadhim Zahawi; MP and Andrew Jones, MP
From left to right: Michel Van der Bel, Managing Director, Microsoft UK; Alexander Small (winner), Penman IT; Nadhim Zahawi; MP and Andrew Jones, MP

June 24, 2014


Nadhim Zahawi MP, Member of the No 10 Policy Board with special responsibility for business and the economy said:

“Apprenticeships make a vital contribution to the economy and help equip young people with the right skills to succeed in their future careers. Important reforms are improving the apprenticeship system in the UK – making qualifications more rigorous, increasing funding for
, and establishing employer-led initiatives.  A strong skills pipeline depends on companies like Microsoft, who actively support aspirational young people and provide them with the training they need to get into the workplace. It’s great to be here today to celebrate the fantastic achievements and hard work of these apprentices and their employers.”

The 2014 Microsoft Apprentice of the Year Awards winning employers


: Small Employer of the Year –


in Hertfordshire; Medium Employer of the Year –


in London; Large Employer of the Year – Cisco Systems in Reading. The overall winning employer was


The 2014 Microsoft Apprentice of the Year Awards winning Apprentices are: Apprentice in a small employer – Alexander Small from Penman IT in London; Apprentice in a medium employer – Kimberley Bolton from Pythagoras in Maidenhead; Apprentice in a large employer –Thomas Herring from KCOM in Hull. The overall Microsoft Apprentice of the Year 2014 is Alexander Small from Penman IT