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Skills Champion of the Year 2018

Skills champion is driven to succeed

Paul FitzpatrickToyota's Paul Fitzpatrick was named Britain's Skills Champion of the Year at the prestigious Semta Skills Awards last night (Thursday March 1).

Paul beat off strong competition to win the award, sponsored by BAE Systems plc, at the Semta Skills Awards 2018 gala dinner in London hosted by BBC presenter Steph McGovern.

Paul's passion as a skills champion within the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector is based upon his belief that two problems needed to be solved - firstly, how to develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed for existing employees in both their current and future job roles, and secondly, how to ensure a future stream of talent for the business at all levels.

His method has been to establish or join strategic partnerships across all activities to ensure value is targeted where most needed, both for the partner and for Toyota, based at Burnaston, Derbyshire.

"I am very proud, not just for myself but for the fantastic team at Toyota," said Paul, a senior manager at the company's Burnaston plant in Derby. "You need a great team above and below to deliver.

Paul developed a company strategy for young people engagement, from primary school level, running through to university students – reaching over 4000 learners to date.

Paul was also responsible for opening up the apprenticeship programme to local engineering companies and SME's, such that of the current 151 learners on programme, only 20% are Toyota employees, the rest are drawn from 30 partner companies across the Midlands, of which eight companies had previously not employed engineering apprentices.

Paul added: "We've seen young people we first engaged with five years ago joining us as apprentices, as well as our partners and that gives us a lot of satisfaction."

Ann Watson, CEO of Semta, the not-for-profit organisation tasked with skilling engineering and manufacturing in the UK said: "Paul is a very deserving winner of the Semta Skills Award. He is an inspirational manager and trainer to hundreds of staff and apprentices.

"His willingness and ability to share his expertise, coupled with his passion to help young people across the sector is a major factor in the success of apprenticeships at Toyota and its supply chain.

"In this, the Year of Engineering, it is more important than ever to showcase talent in the sector and celebrate success.

"If we are to achieve the 800,000 extra engineers we need over the next few years, it is vital we have more people like Paul inspiring more young people to choose STEM careers to keep the skills talent pipeline flowing."

The Skills Champion of the Year runners up were: Jayne Little, Skills 4 Ltd and Michelle Nolan-McSweeney, Network Rail.

Watch Paul as he won his award at the 2018 Semta Skills Awards:

Watch Paul's finalist video and find out more about him: 

You can also find out more about the runners up, click to find out more about Jayne Little and Michelle Nolan-McSweeney


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