Top digital apprentices and digital students have been rewarded for their hard work and dedication at a new BCS awards ceremony. There were winners in twelve categories, from cyber security and data analysis through to digital boot camp learners.
The inaugural IT & Digital Apprenticeship Awards were held at the iconic Tower of London and attended by industry giants such as IMB, KPMG and Lloyds Bank.
The Software Developer & Tester Apprentice of the Year winner Emalin Matthews was commended by the judges for her 'remarkable and non-traditional route' into the tech industry.
Emalin said: “I was thrilled to be presented with this award - I didn’t think for one minute that I would win and was actually a little emotional when receiving my award! I feel very proud of myself, and it feels amazing to have my hard work recognised!”
In their submission the awards judges added: "As a woman of colour, Emalin has a great understanding of diversity and inclusion issues within the tech industry."
Emma Grant, head of talent and skills at Manchester Digital, said: “Emalin has had a brilliant and varied work history plus she had already taught herself some coding and has always been interested in computers and tech since the 90s.
“She has never been known to turn down an opportunity and has been an amazing mentor and spokesperson at a number of our events to help encourage women and people of colour to consider a career in the tech industry.”
Affirmation of skills
Patrick Wilson has worked for IBM as an apprentice for about a year and was highly commended in the Software Developer and Tester Apprentice of the Year 2022 category. He said: "It's been incredibly positive being an IBM apprentice – the amount of training we've got through has been tremendous with lots of additional elements you don't necessarily get with apprenticeships.
"When I was nominated, I thought – fantastic - I can't be too bad then!"
Cyber Security Apprentice of the Year Award winner Charlotte Bradley, who works for the Department for Work and Pensions, said: "I've been working really hard over the last two years in improving services for the public, and it's so reaffirming to win."
High level of entries
Annette Allmark, Head of Apprentices at BCS, commented: "It was great to see so many entries to our inaugural IT & Digital Apprenticeship event, which celebrated some spectacular talent. The need for digital skills never stands still, and the demand for digital talent has never been higher, so the profession needs more apprentices following in the finalists' footsteps. We wish all those recognised for their achievements every luck in their future."
The evening was hosted by renowned technology and cyber author and podcaster Geoff White. He commented: "We need people covering IT ethically and understanding the societal impact of their work. That's why it's so fantastic to celebrate how well they've done, how committed they are, and how rooted in society they are."
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Holly Porter, BCS Membership Director and one of the judges, said: "I found the judging hugely rewarding and inspiring – so many of the applicants have achieved such a lot in a very short time and displayed not only technical competencies but a thirst for learning and supporting others. All the ingredients needed for successful careers in years to come!"
Sponsored by RITTech, the professional registry for IT technicians, the awards night has been specially created by BCS to recognise digital apprentices who have made a difference in their working environments and those who are rising stars in their profession. The winners of the apprenticeship categories are automatically entered into the prestigious IT Apprentice of the Year category at the UK IT Awards in November.
The complete list of winners is as follows:
Digital Marketer Apprentice of the Year 2022
Winner: Kim Slater - FD Works
Highly commended: Sophie Pontoppidan - Alexander Daniels Global
Special recognition: Molly Pickering - Anthem Publishing
IT Infrastructure and Networks Apprentice of the Year 2022
Winner: Ravi Ram Ge - Concero
Highly commended: Zack Jacobsohn - eduthing ltd
Special recognition: Michael Winter - Amazon
Cyber Apprentice of the Year 2022
Winner: Charlotte Bradley - Department for Work and Pensions
Highly commended: Kat Walker - Department for Work & Pensions
Special recognition: Jack Murphy - Which? Alfonso Greenbrook - Department for Work & Pensions
Data and Business Analyst Apprentice of the Year 2022
Winner: Heather Higgins - Milton Keynes Council
Highly commended: Matthew Rosete - Pracedo Ltd
Special recognition: Michael Duze - Lloyds Banking Group
Artificial Intelligence Apprentice of the Year 2022
Winner: Kevin Cassar – FCA
Highly commended: Edgar Tse – Easyjet
Special recognition: Tom Buckham - Cambridge University Press & Assessment
Software Developer and Tester Apprentice of the Year 2022
Winner: Emalin Matthews - Coop Technology
Highly commended: Patrick Wilson – IBM
Special recognition: William Pollyn – IBM
Digital Degree Apprentice of the Year 2022
Winner: Billy Turner - IBM
Highly commended: Hannah Mehr - Arup
Special recognition: Lewis Bird - IBM
Developing IT Solutions Apprentice of the Year 2022
Winner: Amy Groves - Lloyds Banking Group
Highly commended: Gideon Sola-Oke - Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Special recognition: Esther Valle - Hireful
Digital Boot Camp Learner of the Year 2022
Winner: Zaira Martinez Delgado - Firebrand Training
Highly commended: Steven Chapman - Althaus Digital
Special recognition: Luke Cadle - Althaus Digital
Digital T Level Student of the Year 2022
Winner: Keiran Hall - Thorpe St Andrew School & Sixth Form
Highly commended: James McKay - Bedford College
Special recognition: Aaran Matzk - West Suffolk College
Professional Development Winner sponsored by RITTech
Winner: Zack Jacobsohn, eduthing ltd
Progression Winner sponsored by RITTech
Winner: Isha Ali - Ajar Technology
Note: This article was updated on July 28th to include additional quotes