160627B_043 (1)Excelsior Academy and the Laidlaw Schools Trust are celebrating being named as top employer for its apprentice programme at the Newcastle City Council Adult Learning Celebration of Success awards.

Judges praised Excelsior’s “fantastic” work with its students to find them career opportunities.

Excelsior’s careers work includes partnerships with the Engineering Training Centre on Newcastle’s Scotswood Road, retail giant intu and support staff apprentice posts for pupils at the academy.

Excelsior’s Rainbird Primary School was also nominated in the awards’ employer category and the academy’s marketing and PR co-ordinator Mahima Qureshi was a runner-up in the apprentice of the year category.

Judges also gave certificates of merit to Excelsior apprentices Georgia Hendry, Lauren Scope and Victoria Kerr – praising them for their superb attitude to work, flexibility and willingness to learn.

Newcastle City Learning, the adult education department at Newcastle City Council, stage the Celebration of Success awards to recognise the very best work in this important sector across the city.

The team has worked closely with Excelsior to train many of its apprentices.

Elaine Withycombe, Newcastle City Learning employment and skills co-ordinator, said: “Excelsior has built up great relationships and offer fantastic support to their young people.

“Over the years they have recruited young people to support teaching and learning, as administrative support, within the marketing team, working on grounds maintenance and in reprographics.

“Many of the young people have been either offered permanent positions or to undertake the next level of their apprenticeships.”

In September last year, the other schools within the Laidlaw Schools Trust started to recruit apprentices which opened up the number of positions available. There are now apprentices within Excelsior Academy, Rainbird Primary, Atkinson Road Primary Academy and Thomas Walling Primary Academy.

Craig Taylor, Excelsior Academy Executive Principal, said: “The Laidlaw Schools Trust goes the extra mile in ensuring its young people are given every possible opportunity to pursue their future career of choice.

“The employer award and recognition of our exceptional apprentices are so rewarding for all people involved in our apprenticeship programme, both staff and students.

“It’s especially pleasing for us to see the judges’ praise for our young people and how they have seized the opportunities given to them to make the very most out of them.”

A citation in support of Mahima’s award entry praised her performance as marketing and PR co-ordinator at Excelsior Academy, which has secured her a full-time permanent role at Excelsior.

“From the very beginning of her apprenticeship journey, Mahima has applied herself to the role with enthusiasm and demonstrated a high level of commitment both to her studies and her employer,” the citation said.

“She has an exceptional approach to her work, regularly being required to respond quickly to changing demands and unplanned events.

“Her planning skills are exceptional – combine those with her ability to motivate and guide others and it is not surprising that she meets all deadlines.”

Rainbird Primary was commended for consistently supporting learners and giving them a range of opportunities and access to training beyond the apprenticeship.

Its staff are always available to listen, encourage and develop apprentices and make them feel welcomed in a supportive environment.