Apprenticeship Awards 2023

Winners Announced

Our annual apprenticeship awards were a chance to shine a light on just some of the outstanding achievements by apprentices, employers and educators involved in apprenticeship training with the University of Kent.

On Wednesday 8th February, apprentices, employers and educators gathered together for the first University of Kent Apprenticeship Awards ceremony to take place in person. As part of our National Apprenticeship Week celebrations, apprentices and key stakeholders joined us from across the country to take part in our round table discussion, networking lunch and celebrate the achievements of apprentices and employers across the University’s 12 apprenticeship standards .Dr Anthony Manning, Director and Dean for Global and Lifelong Learning hosted the event alongside Betty Johnson, Business Development Manager, at the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus.

Our Employer of the Year Awards went to the Department for Work and Pensions and IBM. Department for Work and Pensions were nominated by students for their commitment to ongoing support and the extended learning opportunities they provide to apprentices on the Level 6 Professional Economist apprenticeship. IBM also had many nominations from apprentices and academic colleagues. IBM have apprentices on our London based Level 6 Chartered Manager programme and have provided support and guidance to the University in shaping the delivery since we began delivering to their students in 2021.

Joel Thomas, Early Professional Manager at IBM said; ”

“Apprenticeships are the perfect combination of learning on the job while gaining professional experience. We take a range of levels at IBM from Level 3 to Degree Apprenticeships and they get to apply the theory they learn in real time and in professional circumstances. Apprentices are doing real roles from day 1. They work directly with clients, influence critical business solutions and play an important role in digital transformation. Our apprentices are permanent members of staff at IBM from day 1 and they will progress through the business. This helps us from an investment perspective, we are proud that they choose to stay on and progress their careers with us. The skills they use are highly relevant. Winning the award was fantastic, I am proud of our apprentices, that they are helping our economy and it is also great to have a good relationship with the University of Kent.”

This year saw the inception of a new award in remembrance of Dr Parminder Sandhu, a Senior Lecturer on the chemical science apprenticeships and an internationally recognised academic. Dr Sandhu sadly passed away in November 2022 and the ‘Dr Parminder Sandhu Award for Outstanding Science Apprentice’ has been introduced at this year’s awards to commemorate Parminder and shine a light on apprentices on science programmes who are ambassadors for the their apprenticeships. The winner of the award was Rebecca Burford from AstraZeneca. Rebecca joined the programme as a Level 5 Technician Scientist and has been making an incredible impact in the business and in promoting apprenticeships. Rebecca’s employers spoke highly of the work she has undertaken for the Oncology Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (DMPK) Department, and how her work has been published in an internal AstraZeneca DMPK Gazette and lead to an oral presentation at an early careers workshop by the Drug Metabolism Discussion Group (DMDG) delivered at Nottingham Trent University. They described Rebecca as a ‘true trailblazer – a future leader to nurture and watch’. The prize was presented by Dr Sandhu’s wife, Dr Ravjeet Kour and we will continue to award an apprentice each year in memory of Parminder and his dedication to work based learning.

Across the awards we heard some fantastic stories and achievements. From apprentices who have introduced new techniques and cost-saving solutions to those who have gone above and beyond to take on new roles and achieve personal and professional goals. The awards were voted for by apprenticeship employers, apprentices and academic staff from the University. Each Apprenticeship Standard had a winner and the full list of winners can be viewed below.

Dr Anthony Manning said of the awards, “It has been wonderful to bring so many of our learners and employers together to celebrate the achievements of the past year and to share our passion for apprenticeships and lifelong learning. We believe in the power of apprenticeships to help grow organisations and provide incredibly valuable experiences to employers’ workforce as they begin or progress through their career. It’s clear from the nominations received and the stories shared by our winners that apprentices and apprenticeships are making a real impact across a range of job roles and organisations.”

Award Categories and Winners


Level 5 Technician Scientist (ATMP) – Lucy Trew from Catapult

Level 5 Technician Scientist (Bioscience) – Theo Levine from F-Star Biotechnology

Level 5 Technician Scientist (Chemical Science) – Rebecca Burford from AstraZeneca

Level 6 Laboratory Scientist (Bioscience) – Corrina Hudson from Charles River

Level 6 Laboratory Scientist (Chemical Science) – Paris Croll from RB Reckitt Benckiser

Level 6 Clinical Trial Specialist – Azrah Bashir from Hammersmith Medicines Research

Level 7 Research Scientist – Jessie Stow from Astex Pharma


Human and Social Sciences

Level 6 Professional Economist – Matthew Nash from the Department for Levelling Up, Communities and Housing

Level 7 Clinical Associate in Psychology – Maddison White from Kent and Medway Partnership Trust


Law, Society and Social Justice

Level 4 Policy Officer – Fatima Diallo from Ofcom

Level 6 Social Worker – Adem Akanel from Enfield Council

Level 7 Senior Journalist – Star McFarlane from the BBC


Kent Business School

Level 6 Chartered Manager (London) – Joseph Clines from Procter and Gamble

Level 6 Chartered Manager (Online) – Anna-Kay Johnson from the Bank of England

Level 7 Senior Leader MA – David Murphy from the University of Kent

Level 7 Senior Leader MBA – Darren Evans from Laser

Level 7 Senior Leader MSc – Andrew Watkins from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

Level 7 Senior Leader MSc in Healthcare Management – Olufunsho Otenaike from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

Level 7 Operational Research Specialist – Kezia Huttlestone from the Ministry for Justice


Employer and Academic Awards

Employer of the Year -IBM and Department for Work and Pensions

Academic of the Year – Dr Lyne Josse for Clinical Trials Specialist and Science

Apprenticeship Advisor of the Year – Emily Hassell for Professional Economists

Dr Parminder Sandhu Awards for Outstanding Science Apprentices – Rebecca Burford from AstraZeneca

The University of Kent has been offering Apprenticeships since 2011 and offer a range of apprenticeships in areas such as science, economics, social work, policy making and business and management.

To find out more about our Higher and Degree Apprenticeships, please email