Bolton’s AO wins regional final of National Apprenticeship Awards 2015

AO is proud to announce that it has beaten off competition from entrants from all across the region to win the North West final of the National Apprenticeship Awards 2015.

AO, that runs its apprenticeship programme in conjunction with Arch Apprentices, was awarded the Newcomer Large Employer of the Year Award at a ceremony at Lancashire Cricket Club. AO will now go through to national judging in the hope of becoming a national finalist.

The Awards, now in their twelfth year, are run by the National Apprenticeship Service and recognise excellence in two areas: businesses that grow their own talent with apprentices and apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.

AO was chosen as the winner in recognition of the outstanding contribution it has made to its apprenticeship scheme. The company took on its first seven apprentices in April 2014, who worked across different disciplines throughout the business including; IT, design, digital and ecommerce. The company has hired further apprentices this year in its facilities, gas installation, logistics and management departments. It will be looking to recruit more in the coming months, hoping to effectively double the amount which they currently have. All apprenticeships are facilitated by Arch Apprentices, who has helped AO get its Digital and IT programme up and running.

John Roberts, CEO and founder of AO commented: “Everyone at AO is hugely proud to have been awarded this prestigious award and it’s a huge achievement for not only all of our amazing apprentices but also the team that help to develop these young talents in their chosen areas within the business.

“At AO, we are always searching for people with the ‘AO DNA’ and all of our apprentices have shown this in abundance and all embody the AO driven and bold values. Our mission statement at AO is ‘To be exceptional in the moments that matter’ and our apprentices have definitely proven that over the last year.”

Jacob Grigg, a level 4 digital marketing apprentice at AO, said, “Since joining the company, I’ve had a really great experience. I’ve always felt like a valued member of the team, and have been given the right level of guidance and advice, whilst still being able to work independently and contribute to projects which I can feel truly proud of. It’s been a fantastic introduction into the working world, and I hope to stay with the company for the foreseeable future.”

AO demonstrated the wide and varied range of opportunities and further training it offers its apprentices including; brand training, product knowledge, and additional IT courses.

All apprentices who join AO, as well as receiving traditional business training, are also encouraged to participate in the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. AO helps fund this programme because it recognises how important it is for young adults within the company to understand and appreciate the benefits of teamwork, determination, and self-belief.

Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said:

“AO has been recognised as winner newcomer large employer of the year award and I would like to congratulate them on their achievement. They deserve to be rewarded for their efforts. There has never been a better time to become an apprentice or employ one.”

To find out more about the National Apprenticeship Awards, please visit