Apprenticemaker Achievement

Nominations for Celebrating Enterprise 2016 are now open so we got in touch with Anne Wilson, last year’s Small Business Apprenticemaker, to find out what the experience of winning meant to her. We discovered that the Celebrating Enterprise accolade isn’t Anne’s only recent success as a few months after the event she received an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Anne Wilson is someone who has made championing apprenticeships a key part of her role as Managing Director of Numill, a precision engineering company in Sheffield. In 2010, the forward-thinking businesswoman realised there was an industry-wide skills drought looming on the horizon. In response, she was determined to make apprenticeships a central component of Numill’s training plans. During the intervening years, Anne, through her position at Numill and as Chair of the Employer Strategic Advisory Board for a local engineering college, has worked hard to employ, train and support apprentices, simultaneously creating opportunities for young people and safeguarding her industry’s future. Anne also endeavored to spread the apprenticeship message beyond Numill by supporting other employers through Apprenticemakers. So, how did it feel to hear in early autumn last year that she was in the running for a Celebrating Enterprise award?

“To find out I’d been nominated for something like this was a shock and an honour! It came out of the blue. I wasn’t expecting it at all. To be nominated was a pleasure and to actually go to the House of Lords and win was doubly exciting.”

Anne was one of three individuals to be nominated for the Small Business Apprenticemaker Award, which is given in recognition of an individual who has championed the apprenticeship model in their own enterprise and beyond, demonstrating a dedication to extolling the benefits of apprenticeships for learners, small and medium businesses and the wider economy. As her guest for the day, Anne chose friend and professional contact Karen Finegold, who is the Executive Director of the Engineering Industries Association. Anne remembers the excitement and sense of occasion she felt on that day last November:

“Even to approach the House of Lords buildings, to get through the security and be welcomed is fun. The crowd was very bubbly and excited. When my category came up, Karen was nudging me and saying ‘this is you, this is you!’ We had drinks and canapés on the terrace at the House of Lords, which not many people get to do!”

Sophie Hardwick of Apprenticemakers said:
“As an Apprenticemaker, Anne has proven herself to be committed for the good of her own company but her perspective is far wider reaching than that. She is someone who has spotted a significant future skills gap and understands that apprenticeships are the route to filling it, for the good of an entire industry.”

Is there an individual, organisation or product you’d like to nominate for a Celebrating Enterprise 2016 award? It could be a learning provider that has excelled in delivering first-class enterprise education, or perhaps you know an enterprise learner who has committed themselves to their studies with real vigour? Maybe you’ve come across an enterprise learning product that’s pioneering in its design or impact, or do you know of an individual who has given outstanding support to enterprise in their community?

To see the full list of award categories and find out more about making your nomination, visit