North East apprentice named National Apprentice of the Year at awards

Two apprentices from the region have taken the top spots in national apprentice awards

Apprentice of the Year Callum Gallagher (centre) with Fullers Brewery operations director Mike Clist (l) and TV presenter John Inverdale
Apprentice of the Year Callum Gallagher (centre) with Fullers Brewery operations director Mike Clist (l) and TV presenter John Inverdale

North East apprentices have taken centre stage at a number of national awards ceremonies.

Callum Gallagher has been named the British Institute of Innkeeping’s National Apprentice of the Year, following his success the County Durham-based based Ramside Hall Hotel’s Learner Academy.

Alex Burr, who is undertaking a three-year Life Sciences Higher Apprenticeship at the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies Billingham site, meanwhile, has been crowned Higher Apprentice of the Year in the UK Life Science Skills Awards.

The achievements represent the latest in a string of successes from the region, as the Journal continues with its year-long Proud to Back Apprentices campaign.

Gallagher joined Ramside Hall Hotel as a room attendant before progressing to a customer service role. He was then promoted to go for the trainee manager post last year, when he started studying towards a Level 2 apprenticeship.

The 22-year-old, who beat off competition from around the UK to receive the accolade in London, said: “The past year has been tough at home as my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer but the training has given me something positive to focus on.

“I wasn’t sure about starting the course at the beginning but it has given me lots of confidence and made me determined to succeed and make something of my life.

“I’m proud to have won a national award, especially as the standards were so high. ”

Ramside Estates employs more than 400 people across the region.

Around 60% of staff have already taken part in the Learner Academy, with 50% advancing to the next stage of training.

Burr, meanwhile, is studying for a Foundation Degree in Applied Bioscience Technology at the University of Kent, while working for Fujifilm Diosynth three and a half days a week. The business works with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies across the world who are developing new drugs to combat the likes of cancers, diabetes and rare diseases.

The UK Life Science Skills Awards are organised by Cogent, the strategic skills body for the science industries.

Burr, who lives in Chester-le-Street, said: “I need to be self-motivated and organised, but the benefits of learning ‘on the job’ and earning a salary make it worthwhile.

“It has helped me to develop as a person too, giving me more confidence.

“The practicality of ‘hands-on learning’ suits me and it’s fun being part of a team and having the banter in the workplace. I’m thrilled and proud to receive this award.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer