Cumbria County Council has won two awards for its apprenticeships.

It was crowned Macro Employer of the Year and won the recruitment excellence category at the ceremony this afternoon for the National Apprenticeship Awards.

Now in their 16th year, the awards showcase and celebrate the achievements of outstanding apprentices, apprentice employers and individuals to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

Winners will now go through to the national final in London on November 27.

Amanda Towers, senior manager for learning and skills at Cumbria County Council, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have been crowned a winner of not just one but two awards.

"It means so much, not just to me, but to the organisation as a whole. Everyone from the leader of our council to our senior executive team, to line managers and mentors have worked so hard to support our programme.

"Our 291 apprentices – made up of both new joiners and current staff – bring a whole range of skills and new ways of thinking to the business, allowing us to embrace new and digital ways to provide the best service to the people of Cumbria.”

Councillor Sue Sanderson, cabinet member for schools and learning, said: “What an achievement and fantastic recognition for our apprenticeship team who work incredibly hard to recruit and support hundreds of apprentices across a wide range of professions at the county council.

“Apprenticeships offer a fantastic opportunity for people to earn while they learn and the overwhelming majority of our apprentices go on to secure permanent employment with the council or move on to further training.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Huge congratulations to all of the regional winners. Apprenticeships change lives, improve businesses and support local communities, so it’s great to see such a diverse range of employers and apprentices being recognised for their great work. I wish them all the best of luck for the final award ceremony in November.”