WEDNESDAY 5th February saw Macclesfield College host its third consecutive Apprentice of the Year Awards at Mottram Hall, to formally acknowledge and celebrate the achievements, hard work and commitment of all of the students currently enrolled on its award-winning apprenticeship programmes.

More than 80 specially invited guests – including key regional business figures and employers participating in the College’s apprenticeship scheme – attended the event, which was hosted by Director of Employer Enterprise and Commercial Services, Tracy Cosgrave. They were joined by selected teaching staff – including trainers, tutors and assessors – and members of the College’s Senior Management Team.

No fewer than 17 young East Cheshire learners presently combining employment with their studies at Macclesfield College were crowned as ‘Apprentices of the Year’. Individual subject categories ranged from Engineering and Motor Vehicle, to Customer Service and Hospitality, while the ‘Employer of the Year’ award went to Macclesfield-based global online vehicle re-marketing specialist, Autorola.

The star of the evening, however, was ‘Overall Apprentice of the Year’, Rachel Cowell. Macclesfield College student and Accountant Apprentice at Adlington-based haulage and warehousing specialist William Kirk Limited (part of the Kinaxia Group of Companies), Rachel has demonstrated unstinting commitment to the task throughout her course, and has been described by her employer as “a team player with a clear and admirable work ethic”.

Speaking after the event, Rachel said: “I am so happy I chose to do my apprenticeship at Macclesfield College. Without it, I would not be working in the role I currently am with such a fantastic and supportive local employer. I would highly recommend enrolling on an apprenticeship programme at Macclesfield College to anyone, as it helps to focus your work skills, build your confidence and, most importantly, open doors to your future.”

In presenting these awards, the College’s Director of Employer Enterprise and Commercial Services, Tracy Cosgrave was particularly keen to stress the level of commitment, endeavour and enthusiasm apprentices, employers, staff and parents alike have all contributed into making the apprenticeship programmes at Macclesfield such a success.

Four years on from its introduction, Maxim Business Training – the College’s dedicated employer-responsive arm – is now the region’s leading apprenticeships provider, with success rates at both Level 2 and Level 3 provision standing at a commendable 6.8% above the national average, and higher level provision running at an incredible 19% above the national average, according to figures published in the latest Department for Education (DfE) Performance Tables.

What’s more, in terms of timely achievement and completion of apprenticeships, Maxim and Macclesfield College currently lead the entire North West of England. This is a tremendous accomplishment by everyone concerned, particularly in the light of the radical reforms implemented nationally back in 2017, with regard to the delivery and funding of apprenticeships.

Tracy also took the opportunity to announce that Maxim had been named ‘Team of the Year’ at the North East Cheshire Business Awards in November 2019, in recognition of the ongoing, high-profile work it does to enhance and transform apprenticeships provision across the East Cheshire region and beyond.


She then used the platform at Mottram Hall to formally introduce Erin Hallows to members of the region’s business community. A former Management and Information Systems apprentice at Macclesfield, Erin is now the College’s Student Enhancement Lead, having been promoted from her previous position as Work Placement Officer. Erin gave a short talk on her exciting and varied journey to date at Macclesfield College, as well as acknowledging the role her Assessor and Mentor, Deborah Sandhu has played in her ongoing career progression.

In praising all of the apprentices at Macclesfield College, Tracy Cosgrave said: “Whatever their background or the level they are studying at, there is one thing that unites all of our apprentices, and that is they are clearly succeeding in impressing those around them. Each apprentice is here this evening because they have been nominated, either by their employer or tutor. That means busy people have taken their precious time to put pen to paper to ensure our students get the recognition they deserve. Each of our apprentices has shown commitment, determination, promise and maturity beyond their years, and that makes me especially proud.”