An industrial apprentice from Birmingham was named as one of the region’s brightest vocational stars last week.

Brandauer’s Oliver Eskriett overcame competition from more than 100 apprentices across the West Midlands to secure the ‘Management & Leadership’ title.

More than 300 people packed into The Eastside Rooms in Birmingham to hear how he has helped the company generate £500,000 of reshoring business from Asia and extended production capacity at the firm’s Newtown facility to 140 million nose clips for face masks every year.

More recently, Oliver has been supporting the delivery of the new Precision Toolmaking Academy at In-Comm’s Technical Academy in Aldridge. This has involved identifying the best layout for a live toolroom, ideal for producing tools, but also giving young and mature learners the opportunity to gain valuable toolmaking skills, skills that are at danger of slipping away from UK industry due to an ageing workforce.

Bekki Phillips, Chief Operating Officer at In-Comm Training, commented: “We are finally seeing the perceptions of apprenticeships change since Covid-19 and events like these are crucial to achieving that level of equality.

“Vocational learning shouldn’t be seen as the pathway you take if you don’t get good grades, that’s nonsense. We now have clear pathways in place where a learner can go all the way to a degree in less time than going to university, with the added benefits of hundreds of hours of real-life experience and zero debt.”

She went on to add: “Oliver has demonstrated hard work, commitment, teamwork, innovation and, importantly, technical competence. He is already making a real difference to Brandauer and this is just the start.”

This was the eleventh year the In-Comm Training Awards have been held and gave nearly 50 finalists the opportunity to celebrate their achievements in front of their peers, mentors and employers.

Other winners included:

  • Billcar Precision Engineering – Small Employer of the Year
  • Britney Biju (Collins Aerospace) – Engineering & Manufacturing Foundation at Telford
  • Christian Newey (IMI Norgren) – Engineering & Manufacturing Advanced at Aldridge
  • George Moore (Precision Technologies) – Engineering & Manufacturing Foundation at Aldridge
  • Emily Lander (M&A Doocey) – Business Support
  • Hoshizaki Europe – Large Employer of the Year
  • James Morgan (Torus Measurement Systems) – ‘Outstanding Learner of the Year’, and Engineering & Manufacturing Advanced at Telford
  • Jean Catchpowle (Gestamp) – Quality & Continuous Improvement
  • Lewis Laidler (Hoshizaki Europe) – ‘Most Improved Learner’
  • Tracey Reynolds (William King) – Ambassador of the Year

The high-profile ceremony, which is backed by main sponsor the Engineering Technology Group (ETG), was also used to celebrate the life of Her Majesty the Queen, with guests marking the unrivalled service and dedication of Her Royal Highness.

Gareth Jones, Managing Director In-Comm Training, concluded: “The Awards have grown massively from when they first started and we want to them to continue to get bigger, as it’s a fantastic way of spreading the message about vocational learning and everything it has to offer. The apprentices rightly get the majority of the plaudits, but we shouldn’t forget the huge contribution and impact employers have on shaping the professionals and engineers of the future.”

The In-Comm Training Awards were made possible by headline sponsor the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) and other sponsors, including Aptem, Black Country Chamber of Commerce, Collins Aerospace, Crowe LLP, EAL Awards, FBC Manby Bowdler, In-Comm TMG, MyWorkwear and the West Midlands Apprentice Ambassador Network.