Dynamic manufacturers and talented apprentices from across the UK were recognised as national manufacturing champions at the EEF Future Manufacturing Awards held in London last week.
The biggest winner on the night was Advanced Insulation Limited, which scooped two awards and was crowned Winner of Winners – a title awarded to the most outstanding company amongst all the category winners.
The firm, a Gloucester-based manufacturer of thermal insulation and fire protection systems, marine and buoyancy products, which employs over 150 people, took gold in the Business Growth Award, which recognises companies delivering dynamic business growth through a consistent growth strategy. This was awarded in recognition of Advanced Insulation's confident, flexible approach, leveraging local and workforce knowledge to produce exceptional growth.
The company also took home the Outstanding Export Award, which recognises manufacturers that have successfully developed and implemented a new international trade strategy. Judges said that the firm had a well-developed export strategy which included the key elements of people, R&D and investment in new markets. This has enabled the company to grow at a time when conditions were challenging for the sector.
Judges were also won over by Malgorzata Barzowska, aged 28, a final year apprentice at Airbus Operations, was crowned Outstanding Apprentice of the Year in an award sponsored by Siemens. The accolade came after she had battled her way through regional heats to make it through to the national finals. She was named the winner after impressing judges with her deep understanding of her company, dedication to her apprenticeship and her clear vision on where she would like the future to take her.
Joining Malgorzata on the podium was Matthew Thorpe, aged 21, a final year apprentice at Bentley Motors. Matthew was crowned Outstanding Business Apprentice of the Year after impressing judges with the way he has gained company trust and taken on immense responsibility from very early on in his apprenticeship.
Winners were selected by a panel of judges drawn from business leaders, industry experts and academics and was up against tough competition from a range of dynamic businesses, small and large, from across the UK.
Philip Watson, Director of Topside Sales at Advanced Insulation, says: "This gives our business growth and export strategies a great seal of approval from judges and our peers. It's always important to continue to innovate and push ahead with new ideas, so to win this award and to have our success recognised is a great accomplishment and a compliment to our team.
"We are passionate about all aspects of our business and today this dedication and focus has paid off. To be crowned Winner of Winners tops it all off. We hope our success will inspire other manufacturers and encourage them to share their achievements too."
Malgorzata Barzowska, apprentice at Airbus Operations, says: "This is a massive honour – I can't believe I've won. It's a fantastic way to end what has been an amazing few years as an apprentice. I've learnt valuable life and career skills, but this award tops it all.
"I know that other young people may be weighing up the benefits of an apprenticeship – all I can say is that it offers great opportunities and I hope my success demonstrates this."
Other award winners announced on the night were:
Leadership: Peter Digby, Chairman at Xtrac
Developing People: Superior Seals
Environmental Achievement: IR Newport
Health and Safety: Bard Pharmaceuticals
Partnerships: Syngenta Huddersfield
Innovation: HydroGarden Wholesale Supplies