Winners celebrated 2017’s best business talent and innovation in Sandwell at a glittering Sandwell Business Awards ceremony.
The high-profile event at Sandwell College’s Central Campus in West Bromwich was hosted for the second year running by ITV Central presenter Sameena Ali-Khan.
Mayor of Sandwell, Councillor Ahmadul Haque MBE, was a special guest at the ceremony, which was organised by Sandwell College in collaboration with Sandwell Council and Sandwell Business Solutions Centre. The awards evening has now become an annual occasion.
The Darren Cooper Award was presented in honour of the late Sandwell Council leader to Callum Hixon, who completed his business administration apprenticeship at Sandwell College, and now works for Sandwell Council.
Traineeship Learner of the Year went to Afhan Hassan, who completed his traineeship with Shaf’s MOT.
Intermediate Apprentice of the Year was Sarah Bullock, of Accord Housing Group, while Higher Apprentice of the Year was Amy Mills of Liberty Industries Group.
Winning businesses included:
* MiGlass for Business Innovation
* REPC for Commitment to Employee Development
* Diamond Bus for being Think Sandwell’s fastest growing business in the Top 50 index
* David Manners for New Employer of the Year
* Options for Life for Developing Apprenticeship Talent
* Scott Arms Dental Practice for Small/Medium Employer of the Year
* Lovell Partnership for Large Employer of the Year.
Think Sandwell (partner of the Black Country Growth Hub) supported the Business Innovation and Commitment to Employee Development categories, encouraging nominations from businesses across the borough.
Sandwell College Principal Graham Pennington said: “It’s fantastic to see so many people celebrating success. I want to thank all our employers and the council for the experience and support you have given to our students over the years.
“The college is ranked 12th in the country and best in the West Midlands for its achievement rates, and this is due in part to specialist advisers, mentors and staff who guide students in their next steps to a job, apprenticeship or higher education.
“This success is in keeping with our mission to provide, continuously develop and deliver high-quality education, training and learning programmes that help to improve the life chances and the economic prosperity of our learners, community and businesses.”
Councillor Bill Gavan, Sandwell Council’s business ambassador said: “It’s essential Sandwell Council and Sandwell College help businesses work in partnership to create opportunities and train our young people for the work place. Congratulations to all award winners.
“I urge local businesses, large or small, to get in touch with the council where we have forward thinking, experienced officers and directors in place to offer assistance.”
Sponsors for the event included Sandwell Council, the Albion Foundation, Beacon Print 24-7, Sandwell Business Solutions Centre, VU Ads, Fab Lab, Black Country Chamber of Commerce, MiGlass, Metsec, Newbury Travel and Social Frames.
More than £400 was raised during the evening for Black Country Women’s Aid.