Talented engineer Philippa Dressler-Pearson put the disappointment of redundancy behind her to find a new employer, excel in her role and be named Best of British Engineering at the prestigious Semta Skills Awards last night (Wednesday March 8th) – and in doing so proved the power of qualifications.
The 23 year old from Worcestershire beat off strong competition to win the overall award having earlier been named the UK’s Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by MBDA UK Ltd, at the Semta Skills Awards 2017 gala dinner in London’s Hilton Hotel on Park Lane hosted by BBC presenter Alexander Armstrong.
Her victory underlines the critical role that qualifications play for employees and employers ensuring that skills are both robust and transferable.
Through no fault of her own, Philippa had to bounce back from redundancy, during the third year of her apprenticeship and found a new position with Southco Manufacturing Ltd in Worcester.
Although the business and work was very different, through sheer hard work and determination she completed her Level 3 qualifications and Foundation Degree without any deferment or interruption.
"This is an incredible honour," said Philippa. "I started my apprenticeship four years ago and after 18 months the company I previously worked for went into administration. Being told we were all going to be redundant was devastating.
"I picked myself up, my training provider and college were incredible. Southco came along, we bonded, I went in for an interview and the rest is history. I would say to anyone be enthusiastic, enjoy what you do and you will succeed."
Read more about Philippa and watch her Best of British Engineering interview video.
The other Semta Skills Awards 2017 winners and finalists are listed below. Click on the links to read more and view interviews with the winners.
Diversity in Engineering award – supported by WISE
WINNER – Atkins Global, London
RUNNERS UP – Airbus, Bristol
British Airways, Harmondsworth, London
Apprentice of the Year – sponsored by MBDA UK Ltd
WINNER – Philippa Dressler-Pearson, Southco Manufacturing Ltd, Worcester
RUNNERS UP - Bradley Clare Allied Protek, Grimsby
Hal Devonald, Siemens Subsea ( Ulverston), Cumbria.
Higher Apprentice of the Year - sponsored by Rolls-Royce plc
WINNER – Ethan Davies, Electroimpact UK Ltd, Deeside, Wales
RUNNERS UP – Matthew Peach, Airbus, Bristol
Christiane Rogerson, BAE Systems plc, Preston, Lancashire
Graduate of the Year - sponsored by Airbus
WINNER – Sophie Harker, BAE Systems plc, Preston, Lancashire
RUNNERS UP – Riccardo Puca, Rolls-Royce plc, Derby
Philippa Spencer, Rolls-Royce plc, Derby
Skills Champion of the Year - sponsored by BAE Systems
WINNER - Martin Tomkins, Ford Motor Company, Dagenham, Essex
RUNNERS UP – Jo Lopes, Jaguar Land Rover,
Andy Young, British Airways, Harmondsworth, London
Skills Innovation of the Year - sponsored by GetMyFirstJob
WINNER – KMF Group Limited, Newcastle-under-Lyme
RUNNERS UP – Activate Business School & BMW Group, Oxford
Jaguar Land Rover & University of Bradford
Training Partner of the Year - sponsored by EAL
WINNER – Ayrshire College, Kilmarnock, Scotland
RUNNERS UP – Skills Training UK, Walsall, West Midlands
Warwickshire College Group - Trident Centre, Warwick
Award for SME Investment in Skills - sponsored by Jaguar Land Rover
WINNER – Lander Automotive Ltd, Birmingham
RUNNERS UP – Salop Design & Engineering Ltd, Sittingbourne, Kent
Wire Belt Company Limited, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Technician of the Year - sponsored by Royal Academy of Engineering
WINNER – Katie Gray, Vector Aerospace Component Services, Perth, Scotland
RUNNERS UP – Philip Booth, Greencore Prepared Meals, Sheffield
Leon Denton, Lockheed Martin UK, Bedford