Joanne shines in apprentice contest

Joanne Sharples of BAE Systems and St Annes
Joanne Sharples of BAE Systems and St Annes
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A pair of apprentices at aerospace firm BAE Systems have been named the best in the North West at a leading industry awards.

Pav Bhogal picked up the Best Apprentice of the Year prize with Joanne Sharples winning the award for Outstanding Leadership at the New Talent Awards run by the North West Aerospace Alliance (NWAA) to celebrate the brightest minds coming in to the industry.

The pair were given their awards at a ceremony at the Imperial War Museum North, which heard speeches from BAE Systems chief test pilot, Mark Bowman, and former national apprentice champion, Jenny Westworth.

Joanne, 22, of St Annes, collected her prize following her success in leading a team of three BAE Systems project managers in a competition organised as part of the awards.

It saw them take on teams of engineers in a variety of challenges. She said: “The judges were impressed with the way I kept the team motivated even though we were doing badly at the time, they commented on the leadership I showed. They said I had ‘stepped in whenever needed’ to support the team and drive them forward.”

Joanne is now in her second year of a five-year Project Control Foundation Scheme which BAE Systems runs with Blackpool and Fylde College to train up project managers.

It will see her complete a higher apprenticeship and a foundation degree in her first two years before going on to study a bachelors’ degree in the final three years.

She said: “The opportunities my training with BAE Systems has given me has been fantastic, every day I am involved in something exciting.”

Jenny Westworth, who won the NWAA Best Apprentice of the Year prize in 2011, spoke about her experience which has seen her take a role as an education ambassador at BAE Systems and an ambassador for key science, technology, engineering and manufacturing) in the region.

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