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Congratulations Oxford Biomedica – Apprenticeship Large Employer of the Year 2022 sponsored by Oxford North, and highly commended Blenheim & Jacobs Douwe Egberts


For the first time, Oxford North has sponsored the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards 2022, which is organised and run by OxLEP and its Awards’ committee.

Oxford North sponsored the Large Employer of the Year (250+ employees) category.

The winners were announced at a virtual ceremony and on 26 May 2022, the finalists gathered at Williams F1 Experience Centre to be presented with their trophies.

With many exceptional entries, the judges, Olivia Lane-Nott and Tom Storey, enjoyed meeting the entrants to hear how they embrace and nurture their apprentices.

Olivia Lane-Nott, judge for Oxford North said: “Thank you to all the entrants in this hotly contested category for so warmly welcoming us and sharing with us their stories. It was hard to select our winners but as a way to do so, we were looking for examples where businesses had gone beyond and embraced innovation.”

The three finalists were:

Blenheim – they impressed the judges as their apprenticeship scheme is embedded in their CEO’s objectives and governance to train 100 apprentices by 2027. To date, they have trained or are training 51 people across a wide range of roles from rural to finance, marketing to retail and more. And, like us, as a long-term landowner, they have a responsibility to create local jobs, opportunity and change lives and they have a robust support, mentoring and wellbeing plan in place.

Jacobs Douwe Egberts – the judges visited their impressive Banbury coffee and tea factory and were struck from the start with their wall of names of those people who had worked there for 30 years or more, some of whom started as apprentices and became leaders. With a passionate team, they engage with every single school in the catchment area to promote their programme and they recently secured internal funding for a new modern apprentice workshop in their factory where apprentices can come together to learn their trades without the pressures of production.

Oxford Biomedica – as the UK manufacturer of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, they offer a wide range of apprentice opportunities from Lab Technicians to HR Support, to training Advanced Therapies Technician Scientists and Plant Engineers to senior leadership master’s degrees. Their partnering with the Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community (ATAC) to develop talent in the Cell and Gene Therapy industry, the outreach they do and their role as STEM ambassadors are very inspiring.

Winner: Oxford Biomedica.

Highly commended: Blenheim and Jacobs Douwe Egberts.

“Tom Storey, judge on behalf of Oxford North, added: “Oxford Biomedica shone out with their dedicated and passionate team to support their 31 apprentices and the variety of STEM roles they offer as they continue their strategy to develop emerging talent and grow the next generation of leaders.”

William Donger, chief executive officer, Oxford North said: “It was such an important evening for the winners as an endorsement of all the hard work they do either being or supporting apprentices. Many congratulations to Oxford Biomedica, Blenheim and Jacobs Douwe Egberts and all the other finalists, and to OxLEP for such a successful awards and ceremony.

“We are proud to sponsor these awards for the first time because we have a strong belief in the value that apprenticeships can create in increasing social mobility and supporting businesses to grow. Apprentices play a significant role in businesses and their future – anyone who is willing, able and keen to learn a new skill can enjoy hands-on experience of industry.”

Oxford North’s project is a significant and intended stimulant for the local economy and employment market. Working in collaboration with Oxford City Council and OxLEP, it will create aspiration and opportunity for local people by identifying skills’ gaps, engaging with local education institutions, working with our supply chain to maximise opportunities for local people by providing apprenticeships for school leavers, graduate positions and up-skilling 50 plus years.

Opportunities are not only in construction, but also in landscaping, waste management, green skills and the increase in digital skills such as augmented and virtual reality.

Since August 2021, more than 250 construction jobs have been created on site, and that is only set to increase as the project progresses.

Find out more about the 2022 awards and the winners:

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