Apprentice of the Year Award 2023

Awarded for outstanding impact and/or contribution as an Apprentice.

College of Business, Technology, and Engineering

George Bicknell
Jack Garside
Nihal Dhillon
Stacie Wilson


Cameron Manderfield – BSc Hon Professional Practice in Food Technology (DA)

What did they do?

“The nominee applied for the role that was advertised on the Government ‘find and apprenticeship’ website, which led to selection days with Premier Foods and were apparently brilliant! The organisation had a lot of applications but the nominee clearly stood out. They chose an apprenticeship because they wanted to contribute to real work in a business while studying. The nominee recognised that an Apprenticeship would enable them to apply learning from university at work, which appealed to them in a way in which the traditional university route and experience did not. They have simply gone from strength to strength and flourished not only in the role of Product Development Apprentice Technologist with Premier in their R&D Department, but as an apprentice and a peer on the course.”

What was the impact?

The nominee has exceeded expectations all round within Premier. Their apprenticeship has enabled them to meet organisational goals by developing them in their role and providing them with a wider range of technical skills and knowledge to complete recipe development and re-development inline with market trends and consumer requirements – cost reduction and salt reduction to help produce healthier products. They are now working with suppliers to investigate clean label alternatives to ingredients used in some long-standing products. They now lead their own projects, on significant brands such as Bisto and Saxa and share their new learning with others to develop their leadership skills and raise the team’s effectiveness.
The nominee is progressing rapidly and is going to be a hard act for the Co-op to replicate when they take on their next apprentice. They have been trusted to lead high profile projects and this is testament to their dedication and hard work.”
How did it inspire others?
“Not only has the nominee got to grips with their role but in the opinion of their employer they are achieving far more after 2 years at aged 20 than some graduates are capable of when they start work. They embrace the work based learning of the apprenticeship and notably, are very keen to share this with peers and potential students – a real role model for apprenticeships as they want to inspire others. They have been an ambassador for apprenticeships and wants to continue to do so in their business, university and with school leavers. Last year, they spoke at an event for prospective apprentices at Hallam. They said “ I am true believer in apprenticeships, so this was a great event to attend as I got to advocate apprenticeships to school students. I discussed my own job role and degree course, and also got the chance to hear from apprentices on different schemes, which was really insightful and showed a full range of opportunities” – maximising their networking opportunities at the same time!”

College of Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences

Jill Collins
Ellis Porter
Emma Cox
Yuk Yee Chang
Rosemary Cottam
Natalie Cain


Yuk Yee ChangBSc (Hons) Physiotherapy Apprenticeship 

What they did: 

“Supportive of ACP (Advanced Clinical Practitioner) who received a referral for a patient who had very complex needs (Undiagnosed Parkinson’s disease, fungating tumour, refusing hospital admission, deteriorated mobility and transfers). Patient was approaching end of life and was stuck in chair. This apprentice assisted with personal care (which was very difficult due to patient being very stiff and not on any medication for Parkinson’s Disease), rearranged furniture so that a hospital bed can go in the room. Liaised with multi agencies in getting adequate support and bed and mattress even though apprentice’s shift time was over on that day. Apprentice followed up with agencies on realising that the equipment was not delivered on the time specified and ensured these were in place so that patient can sleep on the bed that night. ACP could trust this apprentice to do what need to be done. The service can rely on this apprentice due to the intuitiveness shown.” 


What was the impact? 

Patient was able to have a good co-ordinated care during his end of life.” 


How it inspired others: 

“Apprentice uses own initiative while remaining within own scope of practice in order to provide support to members of the team, patients and family.” 

College of Social Sciences and Arts

Robert Fothergill
Richard Cousins
Chloe Dughan
Reymar Robinson
Chris Wood


Christopher WoodBSc (Hons) Packaging Professional (DA)

What they did: 

“When joining the Packaging Professional Apprenticeship, this student was working in the Smurfit Kappa service department, repairing and maintaining the sites conversion tools. They had gone directly into work from school and felt they had missed their opportunity for a university education. 


As someone who was looking to develop professionally within the packaging industry, they enrolled on the newly developed (and UK’s first) Packaging Professional Degree Apprenticeship programme at SHU, hoping this would be an opportunity to obtain new knowledge and skills. 


In their business critical, but largely invisible role, they worked tirelessly to ensure that the service that they were required to provide was uninterrupted while applying creativity and significant personal effort to their University and Apprenticeship work. The student used every opportunity to learn from others, observing previously unknown tasks and processes. 

They managed to maintain their work to a very high level around their family life and business critical work shifts in the factory, including across the COVID crisis, where they continued their work as a classified key worker in manufacturing.” 


What was the impact? 

“Mid-way through the second year of the course, the student applied for and secured an internal promotion to join the Business Development Team at Smurfit Kappa. 

It’s hard to overstate the scale of the change of roles. From a ‘closed’ shop floor manufacturing position with a limited scope, their new role involves overseeing multi-million-pound projects with a complex range of stakeholders at board level across a FTSE100 company. 


This transition was made possible as a result of his personal and professional development throughout the early stages of their Apprenticeship, as well as the encouragement given to all apprentices on the Higher Degree Apprenticeship Packaging Professional BSc to embrace the wider picture of operations within both their companies and the industry in which they operate. 


The student is now an integral part of developing new business for SK and the new product development process which covers all aspects of introducing new products into the business.  


They are now a key member of the continuous improvement team, leading and evaluating highly complex projects that contribute significantly to the sites cost saving activities.  

Lastly, they have become a qualified level 2 internal auditor and a level 2 HACCP team member. They conduct regular audits ensuring the sites compliance to both BRC and ISO standards while their duties in the HACCP team ensure the site fulfils its obligations when manufacturing packaging that comes into direct contact with food.  

The student would not have been able to achieve any of this without their Apprenticeship.” 


How it inspired others: 

This students experience and story is inspirational, a true demonstration of how impactful Apprenticeships can really be. 


They made the commitment to not just complete their Higher Degree Apprenticeship – but to excel in all areas. They have continued to achieve academically and used their new skills to ‘lean in’ to the work-based learning opportunities that makes their work so successful and impactful. 


The student has benefitted their organisation with a range of innovative departmental improvement projects which have had a positive impact locally, and increasingly on a national basis. They have shared their new knowledge with others and continues to develop throughout the programme, which has seen them progress into an individual with highly transferable multidisciplinary skills. 


This students success has been noticed repeatedly by Sheffield Hallam – they were selected as one of just two apprentices from all 2500 studying at Hallam to speak at the Universities UK national conference on the impact of apprenticeships.  They were also recently invited to meet with an audience including the Vice Chancellor, Sir Chris Husbands & Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP to represent the achievements of apprentices around the country and the positive impact they make to communities, businesses and the wider economy.” 

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