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Dorset-based learner wins prestigious national apprenticeship award

Posted on: 21/07/2022

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.”

Annabelle completed her apprenticeship with Little Beans Day Care in Poole, her manager Amy said;

“Annabelle has been a star team member right from the start and her passion for early years has been evident throughout her apprenticeship. Annabelle goes above and beyond, and ensures she makes a difference to each and every child she engages with. We at Little Beans are so unbelievably proud of Annabelle and pleased that her hard work and dedication has been recognised with this award. Annabelle is a phenomenal practitioner who is always bringing new ideas and fantastic activities to the children and uses her extensive knowledge to plan around their interests for their next stages of development. Annabelle has been a pleasure to support throughout her apprenticeship, and we are excited to see what she does next with us.”

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.

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