Three students from Northampton College have been shortlisted for a national apprenticeship award in recognition of their outstanding work with a major railway services company.

top apprenticesElizabeth Lothian, Darren Stawarz and Ben Long have all made it through to the finals of the Future Manufacturing awards.

All three combine their studies with working at Knorr-Bremse in Wolverton, giving them the opportunity to earn while they learn.

Elizabeth, who is studying an HNC Manufacturing Engineering Apprenticeship, said: “This award is a great opportunity to put myself forward and show how much I have embraced my Apprenticeship both academically and professionally.

“I think this award will open new doors for me and allow me to progress even further in my chosen career. I have achieved exceptionally high grades on this course and it’s great to be recognised for doing so well.

“I hope to get an MSC in Engineering allowing me to choose where I want to work in the future and in what role.”

Production engineer Darren added: “Being slightly older than the average apprentice, I think it’s good to get the opportunity to increase my qualifications and receive an award that recognises all of the hard work I put into my job every day.

“The College provided me with all the information I needed and I felt that there has been a good balance between my work and academic learning. Drawing upon the knowledge of others in the industry I feel that I have gained some really valuable experience which I hope to apply to my studies going on to both a degree and masters in Engineering.

“I love to travel, so hopefully I will be able to use these qualifications to travel around the world and work in lots of different countries doing something I really enjoy.”

Ben, a semi-skilled fitter, said: “I am really delighted that I was recommended for this award as it’s something I would never have put myself forward for. Having some positive recognition for how hard I have been working is a really good feeling.

“This Apprenticeship has given me the drive and focus to want to learn more and I now have a deeper level of understanding and knowledge that I can apply to all areas of my life. I hope to go on to become either a senior manager of a company like Knorr-Bremse or a chartered engineering firm so I can choose where I want to work anywhere the world.”

All three students were taught by engineering tutor Neil Tobin, who said: “Having three students from the same company going for this award shows a great result for the Apprenticeship scheme. It also shows how great success can be achieved through peer support and encouragement.

“These students have challenged each other and I have high hopes for each and every one of them. I think they will go on to do great things for the industry.”

The overall winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 14 November at Epsom Downs Racecourse.

For more information about the Apprenticeships available at Northampton College visit our Apprenticeship page.

library award winnerA Northampton College student has landed a competition prize as part of a national drive to boost literacy levels and get people reading more.

Sarah Lawless, who studied at Northampton College’s Daventry campus, was named the winner of the Reading Agency’s national prize draw following this year’s Reading Ahead initiative.

The programme encourages people to read and share their experiences of reading books, magazines and blogs.

Librarian Hannah Painting said: “Reading Ahead is such an important event in our library calendar because of the immense impact it has on the students’ learning experience, their confidence and the development of their skills.

“I am proud that our Library has become a centre of excellent practice in developing literacy through the scheme, with thousands of students participating in the challenge over the last nine years.”

Sarah, who will receive an e-reader to encourage her to keep reading in the future, is an enthusiastic library user who participated in a number of activities staged by the College Library throughout the year.

She said: "I enjoyed taking part in the Reading Ahead scheme and I liked the fact that it doesn't always have to be about books, it can be things such as magazines as well. I am a real bookworm, I have always loved reading as it helps me escape in to a different world. This challenge has enabled me to improve my confidence even more and I hope that it will help others the way it has helped me."

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Melissa Mehrtens

Melissa Mehrtens

Aspiring hat maker Melissa Mehrtens won the chance to work for a designer who supplies headwear to the Duchess of Cambridge having studied on an HE course at Northampton College.The...



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