PETA apprentice wins Apprentice of the Year 2021

Article summary: A PETA engineering apprentice has won Apprentice of the Year at The News Business Excellence Awards 2021. Matthew Haskett, who works for Apollo Fire Detectors, completed the Maintenance Operations Engineering Technician apprenticeship with PETA earlier this year.

Matthew successfully navigated the additional challenges that the pandemic presented last year and took on additional training to plug skills gaps that he identified himself. This led to Apollo nominating him for this prestigious award on PETA’s recommendation and in recognition of his hard work.

In total 10 PETA apprentices were nominated from a range of organisations in the Portsmouth area and Matthew was one of the few shortlisted for the award. 

Matthew’s employer, Apollo Fire Detectors, have been working with PETA for many years, on both the apprenticeship side as well as corporate training and the partnership continues to go from strength to strength.

Matthew said:

“When I first started my apprenticeship with PETA, my knowledge in engineering was very minimal but I was eager to learn and excited about the opportunity Apollo had given me. The apprenticeship has been a steep learning curve but thoroughly enjoyable throughout. The support PETA provided when introducing me to new engineering methods such as machining and CAD was fantastic and these are now important day-to-day tools that I use to support my team.

“The apprenticeship programme combines classroom learning with on-the-job training, which has given me both theoretical and hands-on experience with electrical/mechanical systems. The trainers at PETA are very professional; my assessor Andy O’Brien has been with me throughout the whole apprenticeship, supporting my every move, collecting evidence and assessing my abilities to enable me to gain qualifications.”

The News Business Excellence Awards recognise, reward and celebrate successful businesses and professional individuals within Portsmouth and surrounding areas. Entries are welcomed from a cross section of businesses who have shown exceptional growth, innovation or an outstanding contribution to the community in which they operate. 

The awards were held at Portsmouth Guildhall on 8 July 2021. There were 15 categories in total, covering accolades such as Business of the Year, Employer of the Year, the Sustainable Business Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award submissions were judged independently by a selected panel of business experts. The panel was chaired by Mark Waldron, Editor of The News and a representative from each sponsor was asked to judge on their respective category.

PETA Assessor Andrew O’Brien supported Matthew throughout his apprenticeship. He said:

“Over the three years of working with Matt I’ve been constantly impressed by his self-awareness of what was necessary to succeed, be it knowledge through his BTEC studies or vocational via his NVQ3 evidence, Matt understood what was needed and delivered on demand. Matt’s year was one of the first to experience an independent End Point Assessment which required him to demonstrate his level of work competence to an awarding body and once again Matt met the challenge in his usual professional way and achieved an overall distinction level recognition.”

PETA works in partnership with employers to place well-matched candidates into apprenticeship roles. The PETA apprenticeship team carries out the initial interview stage, creates a shortlist and then works with the employer to select the right person for the role. They will then work together to design a tailored apprenticeship programme that will deliver the core learning, alongside the on-the-job training needed to do the role itself.

The Maintenance Operations Engineering Technician apprenticeship is a Level 3 award and is 36-45 months in duration. It is an entry level training programme, ideal for those starting out in a maintenance operations career as it provides extensive and in-depth training covering both theoretical and practical aspects.

As well as learning to do the job they’ve been employed to do, apprentices will also pick up a number of additional qualifications along the way including the EAL Level 2 Diploma in Performing Engineering Operations (Foundation Competence), the Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering (Development Knowledge) BTEC or VRQ and the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Engineering Maintenance (Development Competence).

Find out more about our apprenticeship programmes and discover why now’s the ideal time to take on an apprentice...


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