Kent Apprentices Recognised at 18th Annual National Apprenticeship Awards

The 18th Annual National Apprenticeship Awards took place on Wednesday 1st December, with two University of Kent students being recognised for their achievements.

The National Apprenticeship Awards highlights the amazing apprentices and employers who are using apprenticeships to boost business success and create career pathways across the UK.

With ten finalists and 18 highly commended finalists from across the country, it was fantastic to see two University of Kent Apprentices recognised during these awards.

Paige Orwig from AstraZeneca was this years’ Special Recognition Award winner for her work at the Cambridge COVID-19 test centre.

Paige Orwig was undertaking her Level 5 Science Technician apprenticeship and working as part of a team of Drug Metabolism Pharmacokinetic scientist’s whose work was essential in cancer research when the pandemic hit in early 2020. Paige and the team continued to visit the site and carry out their work under extraordinary circumstances.

When it was announced in April 2020 that AstraZeneca, GSK and the University of Cambridge would be collaborating to build a lighthouse COVID-19 testing lab, Paige immediately volunteered to put her expertise and experience into the fight against the global pandemic. Paige managed to take on this new challenge and be promoted to deputy team lead in her sample preparation room, while still managing to balance this with her apprenticeship studies and achieve a distinction in her Foundation Degree in Chemical Sciences.

The Award recognised Paige as an ‘organised, professional and extremely capable scientist’ and she was praised for her ‘passion for science and improving the lives of patients across all disease areas.’

Dr Kirsti Taylor, Director of Education (Higher and Degree Apprenticeships) and Director of Studies in Applied Bioscience said; “It is fantastic to see that Paige has been recognised for her hard work and commitment to her apprenticeship and the science industry. Paige’s endeavour to go beyond what is expected of her, such as her efforts to support the Cambridge COVID-19 test centre, really is to be commended. Congratulations on this well-deserved achievement.”

Another success story from the awards was Erin Maciejewski. Erin is a Level 6 Laboratory Scientist apprentice from GlaxoSmithKline was awarded Highly Commended in The Lloyds Banking Group Award for Rising Star for the East of England.

Erin was delighted with the recognition, saying; “It’s been amazing to have been recognised for the work I’ve been doing and has been deeply appreciated.”

Dr Parminder Sandhu, Senior Lecturer in Applied Chemistry also added; “Both Paige and Erin have demonstrated a commitment to the apprenticeship and are highly engaged with learning, so it is great to hear both have been recognised at the National Apprenticeship Awards.”

The hybrid event was hosted Strictly Come Dancing and BBC star Dan Walker and attended by finalists, sponsors and Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi and Minister for Skills Alex Burghart.

View the full list of finalists and read more about the award winners on the Gov.UK websiteNational Apprenticeship Awards 2021 national winners unveiled – GOV.UK (

Find out more about higher and degree apprenticeship offer by The University of Kent and view our current apprenticeships.