A County Durham apprentice has taken the top spot at a prestigious international awards ceremony.
Rebecca Elliott from Binchester was named Apprentice of the Year at the 2019 AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) Training Provider awards.
She joined The Auckland Project, as a Business Administration Apprentice in 2016, aged just 17 and soon realised that her interests lay in finance.
Now 21, Rebecca has progressed to become a Projects Finance Assistant at the Bishop Auckland-based charity and is also completing an apprenticeship at New College Durham, where she is studying for her AAT course to become a qualified accountant.
She was nominated for the AAT award by her New College Durham course tutor and saw off competition from four other shortlisted candidates from across the UK to take home the prize.
Rebecca, said: “I was very flattered just to be nominated and I really didn’t expect to win, so when my name was called, I just couldn’t believe it.
“I am over the moon and quite proud, especially when I look at the standard of all of the other nominees I was up against.
“At The Auckland Project I’ve had opportunities to work closely on a variety of different projects, learning new skills and gaining real experience, it’s been really valuable.”
Rebecca is one of 26 apprentices at The Auckland Project, working in a range of areas including horticulture, catering, visitor experience, marketing and communications and business administration.
Rebecca’s manager, Chris Bramley, Chief Financial Officer at The Auckland Project, said: “Rebecca was one of the very first apprentices to join The Auckland Project and she has been a valuable member of our team from the outset, consistently performing at a very high level both in the office and with her studies.
“We now have 26 apprentices working with us and Rebecca’s role in giving the organisation the confidence to develop our apprentice programme cannot be over-estimated.
“She is a fantastic example of a young and talented individual making a real contribution to our organisation and this award from such a prestigious organisation is testament to both her talent and attitude.”
The Auckland Project is creating a visitor destination in Bishop Auckland, using art, faith and heritage as a way to fuel long-term change and prosperity for the town. Part of this is creating opportunities for local people through employment, training and development.
Camilla Race, Head of Employability at The Auckland Project added: “We are all absolutely thrilled that Rebecca has won this prestigious award, she truly does deserve it, she has worked extremely hard relishing any challenges set for her she has been a real asset to The Auckland Project.
“This is an excellent example of how an apprenticeship can open doors and lead on to professional qualifications and the opportunity of a great career.”
Vernon Anderson, AAT President, said: “The AAT Training Provider Awards are a magnificent opportunity to celebrate success.
“Each year, our students, training providers and tutors put in a significant amount of hard work, and this represents the best way in which to formally recognise their achievements. We are inspired by our winners and applaud the high level of attainment reached by all those shortlisted.”
For a full list of winners at the AAT Awards visit, aat.org.uk/aat-news/winners-announced-at-2019-aat-training-provider-awards.
For more information on apprenticeships at The Auckland Project, visit aucklandproject.org/about/join-our-team/apprenticeships/.