The winners of the RAF National Apprenticeship Awards 2019 have been announced in advance of the annual ceremony at RAF Wittering on 21st March 2019.
The 11 nominees are entered for outstanding dedication and achievement in four main categories:
Communication and Ground Engineering
Air Ops Support, Media and Intelligence
HR and Personnel Support
Now in their 8th year, the RAF Awards were the first of their kind and the format has since been adopted by both the Royal Navy and the British Army. The RAF has proven time and again its commitment to apprenticeships. In December 2014, Ofsted graded RAF Apprenticeship provision as ‘Outstanding’ in all areas.
More recently the RAF was recognised as the Macro Employer of the Year at the finals of the 2017 National Apprenticeship Awards and holds a place in the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list published by the Department for Education.
The RAF is proud to be providing the next generation of trainees with world-class skills and opportunities. This spans a wide variety of trades, to young people from a multitude of diverse backgrounds. We up-skill, re-skill, accredit, reward and value our people, improve social mobility and contribute internationally to the UK’s reputation and prosperity.
The winners and highly-commended nominations for each category will be detailed over the course of National Apprenticeships Week.
Winners and Highly Commended nominees for the 2019 RAF Apprentice of the Year Awards:
SAC Kai Nudds - Personnel Support and Logistics
SAC Nudds serves as a Logistics Chef at the Catering Flight, RAF Lossiemouth; his determination to successfully complete his Apprenticeship has been nothing short of exceptional.
Taking the bold step to temporarily suspend himself from the Apprenticeship programme whilst he evaluated and adjusted his SPLD coping mechanisms to his new working environment was an extraordinary piece of self-reflection that paid dividends. His methodology was praised by the Station Commander during a block inspection as his detailed timelines, pictograms and diagrams displayed on his room walls clearly mapped the journey to achieve his goals.
After reinstatement on the programme it was self-evident that his approach was working; he passed his Trade Ability Tests with flying colours and found the confidence to put himself forward for the Tri-Service Culinary Competition at Shrivenham (Ex Joint Caterer 17) in the Junior Chef Category. He went on to win a Gold Medal (Best in Class) and was rightly rewarded with the Junior Chef of the Year title in what was a fiercely competitive group.
SAC Emma Nelson - Personnel Support and Logistics
SAC Emma Nelson was nominated for these awards when employed within the Deployments and Discharges Cell of RAF High Wycombe’s PSF. Responsible for handling a high turnover of Service Personnel preparing to deploy, SAC Nelson has performed at such a level that she has also covered elements of her managements taskings whilst her own SNCO was deployed.
She is now putting for professional experts to good use in her new assignment working within the very busy HQ Air Command A1 Force generation and Exercise Cell. In her spare time, she contributes to the community by volunteering much of her own time as a Leader at the local Brownie Group.
SAC Beth Roberts – Air Ops Support, Intelligence and Medical
An RAF Photographer at RAF Waddington, SAC Roberts has forged for herself a unique ambassador role in addition to her normal media work. She has exhibited abundant commitment to both her apprenticeship and the wider RAF through a variety of commendable activities.
Generating excellent photographs and well written editorials she elevated the role of RAF Photographer through a hugely successful Instagram project directly influencing the target demographic of 18-24 year olds.
Under her own initiative she delivered a presentation to MPs, Police Chiefs and Cadets at the opening of a new Air Cadet flight simulator in her home town. Her confident presentation style and professionalism made a huge impression on the cadets and everyone else in attendance. 306 Sqn (Runcorn) Cadets have since witnessed a spike in recruitment that is in no small part due to her skilful engagement.
Moving forwards, SAC Roberts was the subject of a promotional video for the RAF Presentation Team that has been used to promote the RAF brand internationally and enhance recruitment strategies. As a figurehead for the junior cadre her confident character demonstrated the breadth of professionalism within the RAF to a wide audience.
As a volunteer, she participated in a 5-day engagement event at the UKs largest gaming festival, Insomnia. Sacrificing her personal time, her maturity and judgement helped to open up many opportunities to raise the RAF’s visibility, discuss RAF100 with the public and benefit wider RAF engagement.
She is an airwoman who strives to create development opportunities for her team; she organised a Force Development trip to London for 10 people of various ranks that gave benefit to her project management experience and also the personal development of staff at RAF Waddington. Admirably, she has put herself forward and become a unit facilitator for Human Factors training. This is a role normally associated with SNCOs and Junior Officers, however, she was accepted into the role after being recognised as an airwoman with unquestionable potential and superb communication skills.
Highly Commended: SAC Mollie Lambert – Air Ops Support, Intelligence and Medical
SAC Mollie Lambert serves at RAF Northolt as a Flight Operations Assistant in a busy, operationally focused environment. Her professionalism and natural leadership qualities shone through whilst performing an IC Shift role in Station Operations; leading a team of SACs she ensured the Ops room ran efficiently at all times. Building on this, SAC Lambert successfully completed a Unit Trainer course and a Junior Leadership course to hone her skills. These new skills allowed her to facilitate training to 600 RAF Auxiliary personnel and duty Operations Controllers.
In order to present her Apprenticeship portfolio to the highest possible standard she completed a Defence Writing course and, proving absolute programme dedication, she proactively arranges her working shifts to match Apprenticeship Centre station visits.
A talented footballer, she has represented the RAF ladies team for the past 3 seasons and earned her RAF colours by achieving selected for the Inter-Services. She shows huge commitment in the community by regularly volunteering to work with children at a school. She assists with school trips, camps and transition days – without enough adult staff the school would be unable to run these activities.
Highly Commended: SAC Ben Savill – Air Ops Support, Intelligence and Medical
SAC Benjamin Savill’s commitment to his Firefighting Apprenticeship, whilst undertaking a fully operational role at the Fire Section, RAF Marham has been outstanding. Often having to travel to other RAF stations to make use of their training equipment and studying in his own time personifies his dedication.
Maximising his opportunities, he has improved his Maths and English grades to open up a range of further education possibilities in the future. Unafraid to meet a challenge, he volunteered to help develop a unique piece of F-35 Aircraft rescue equipment that culminated with successful implementation fleet wide.
Utilising his previous civilian experience, he has taken on the mantle of IC (In Charge) RAF Marham Climbing Club. The club has flourished under his tenure; he instructs personnel, administers the club and still finds time to extend the facility to Blue Skies students from the local Academy thereby developing their own teamwork skills. An article published on the Jon Egging Trust website is testament to the success of the events he organised.
Highly Commended: SAC Dale Nutall – Communications and Ground Engineering
SAC Nuttall has excelled in his role as a General Technician Workshops, serving at the General Engineering Flight, RAF Lossiemouth. A typical noteworthy demonstration of his craft was in the manufacture of a Pressure Release Valve removal tool. With only a sketch to go off he used his initiative and experience to produce the tool in line with customer requirements allowing the equipment to be sent out of area on time.
In addition to his primary tasks, he is a dedicated member of the station Mountain Rescue Team often volunteering for the more arduous mountaineering days to maintain his physical stamina and develop new skills. Setting an exceptional example for others to follow, he has passed the demanding civilian recognised Casualty Care Course elevating his level of specialist ‘mountain medicine’.
Keen to motivate and challenge others, he gives up his spare time to lead Spin classes in the gym and has formed part of two long distance charity bike ride teams raising over £3000 for the Make a Wish foundation.
SAC Niraj Gurung – Cyberspace Communications Specialist
SAC Gurung made an immediate impact on joining the C4i Flight, RAF Odiham where he directly supports the backbone of RAF Odiham’s IT network and maintains the accounts of 1900 personnel deployed around the world. His talent and enthusiasm has been recognised within the workplace and he is a core member of the Cyber Protection Team, protecting military networks from a potential cyber threat.
His advanced level of engineering knowledge and highly-articulate manner was quickly noted by the STEM Team and he has proven to be incredibly inspiring whilst engaging with local school children to consider a future career in engineering. His excellent effort to promote STEM has conveyed his outstanding ability to engage with the next generation, thus promoting the RAF and the apprenticeship scheme within the local community.
SAC Gurung has found the apprenticeship a perfect springboard to showcase his extraordinary talent for communications engineering. Completing the ‘Customer Care in ICT’ module of the apprenticeship, he focussed his attention on customer services and volunteered to administer the computer network accounts for personnel deploying on worldwide operations from RAF Odiham. His endeavours have guaranteed that personnel operating across four continents have access to up-to-date information, vital for them to conduct day-to-day operations.
Highly Commended: SAC Megan Hubbard - Vehicle and Mechanical Technician
Building on excellent performances during her Apprenticeship Trade Training, accumulating accolades for Trade results, Military ethos and physical fitness, SAC Hubbard has continued this momentum in her role as a Vehicle and Mechanical Technician at the Ground Engineering Flight, RAF Lossiemouth.
Playing a key role in maintaining essential aircraft operating area safety vehicles and arrestor gear, she ensures that the Station’s Quick Reaction Alert team remains effective at all times.
As a true ambassador for the Station and Service she was chosen to be part of RAF100 Centenary Parade in London and the final RAF Baton handover ceremony.
Proactive in her own personal development, Hubbard participated in Exercise Caledonian Eagle where she received just praise for her mental and physical robustness in diverse and demanding situations.
SAC Gabrielle Watt – Survival Equipment Specialist
Since qualifying as a Survival Equipment Fitter, service at the RAF Benson Survival Equipment Section has provided SAC Watt with the platform to fully showcase both her effective intelligence and engineering skill set. Since completing her Apprenticeship quickly and efficiently, she has gone on to undertake a Defence Workplace Trainer course significantly contributing to the Section by training new team members.
Always professional showing experience belying her time in rank, she was the obvious choice for the Puma Force Exercise Rising Panther; one of a series of exercises designed to train 1 Group assets with support from both 2 and 38 Groups. Carrying out her first exercise with enthusiasm, she assisted in the preparation and planning prior to deployment by ensuring that Survival Equipment and Aircrew Equipment Assembly piece part spares were available at the forward base location. SAC Watt provided unwavering support to enable a Puma Force Combat Recovery Mission to be successfully achieved; fully demonstrating the force’s Joint Personnel Recovery capability.
SAC Watt is an excellent role model and ambassador for both the Survival Equipment Fitter trade and wider Service. Promoting an excellent image when presenting to groups from outside of the Royal Air Force, her work with the community does not go unnoticed. Unwaveringly dependable, she volunteered for an Annual Cadet Muster held in Scotland; deploying with a team of nine personnel, she was instrumental in ensuring that Air Experience Flights for over 1500 cadets were achieved, during a 2-day period, at Leuchars airfield. In addition, she also supported an Annual Youth Muster at RAF Benson by provisioning Aircrew Equipment Assemblies for Air Experience Flights to over 750 visitors; a feat also replicated for immediate dependants of Service personnel during the Station Families’ Day.
SAC (T) Alistair McKie - Aeronautical Engineering
During his Apprenticeship at RAF Cosford, SAC(T) McKie’s efforts were recognised by a series of ‘good show’ awards and excellent exam results culminating in the honour of the Silver Salver at Graduation. Since that point he has become a highly effective member of the 6 Squadron Avionics team, RAF Lossiemouth, in a notably short timescale.
Relied upon to undertake complex aircraft fault rectification post diagnosis and a critical member of the Quick Reaction Alert team, he actively contributes to the defence of UK airspace. His keen social conscience is ably demonstrated by his active involvement in Charity events recently typified by team participation in a gruelling Marathon raising £5000 in the process. In addition, he is a dynamic personality on the Junior Ranks Welfare Fund and the Station Magazine team; both groups promoting and supporting the wider Station community.