A young apprentice that thrives on ‘proving the doubters wrong’ has been named as the Outstanding Apprentice of the Year for the West Midlands. 

Magna Cosma Casting’s Marcelina Hrynkiewicz overcame the challenge of more than 120 of her peers to secure the main honour in front of over 400 people at the In-Comm Training Awards in Birmingham on Friday 28 June. 

Judges praised the Telford technician’s dedication and commitment to achieving personal and technical growth, as well as her natural leadership that is prevalent in the quality of projects she delivers.  

Backed by main sponsor the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) for the seventh time, the high-profile ceremony saw Alexandru Paunescu achieve Most Improved Learner of the Year. 

The Epson UK engineer has not let barriers stop him from achieving his career goals and he has shown a passion for gaining the necessary qualifications required to succeed within the UK’s engineering and manufacturing sector. 

Backing young talent

In addition to the young apprentices, companies were also in the spotlight for the way they back the next generation of talent and how they continue to invest in their workforces.  

Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land and Accura Engineering won the Large Company and SME Awards respectively, with the latter impressing the judging panel with its extensive apprenticeship programme and its ability to retain young talent. 

Bekki Phillips, Chief Operating Officer at In-Comm Training, praised the diversity and quality of the entries: “We are finally seeing vocational learning being given the credit it deserves, and this is starting to get through to young people, with 92% of school pupils now happy to consider an apprenticeship. 

“And you can see why when you look at what this year’s finalists are achieving and the difference they are making to companies involved in aerospace, automotive, medical, motorsport, nuclear and defence. 

She continued: “Shouting louder about apprenticeships is why we set up these awards and why they continue to be the biggest competition of their type in the UK. It’s imperative we shine the light on young people, mentors and employers who are helping drive industry forward.” 

This was the thirteenth year the In-Comm Training Awards have been held and gave over 90 finalists the opportunity to celebrate their achievements in front of their peers, mentors, and employers.  

Award Group Winners (L): (l-r rear) Caitlin Findlay (Penny Post Credit Union), Jessica Wooldridge (HL Smith), Marcelina Hrynkiewicz (Magna Cosma Casting), Alexandru Paunescu (Epson), Rebecca Smith (Accura Engineering), Ashley Kimberley (Assa Abloy)  
(l-r front) Ben Speed (Assa Abloy), Harry Galt (Mueller Europe), Nathan Bould (Hoshizaki) and Daniel Clinton (Beakbane)

Other winners included: 

  • Caitlin Findlay (Penny Post Credit Union): Business Support 
  • Marcelina Hrynkiewicz (Magna Cosma Castings): Professional Services 
  • Harry Galt (Mueller Europe): Foundation Engineering & Manufacturing – Aldridge 
  • Jessica Wooldridge (HL Smith): Foundation Engineering & Manufacturing – Telford 
  • Ben Speed (Assa Abloy): Advanced Engineering & Manufacturing – Aldridge 
  • Daniel Clinton (Beakbane): Advanced Engineering & Manufacturing – Telford 
  • Ashley Kimberley (Assa Abloy): Apprentice Champion of the Year 
  • Nathan Bould (Hoshizaki) – Higher Engineering & Manufacturing – Telford 

Gareth Jones, Managing Director In-Comm Training, concluded: “We have enjoyed a record year when it comes to apprenticeship intakes and, encouragingly, we are seeing more interest from female engineers and those from more diverse backgrounds. 

“As a training provider we are doing our bit, continually investing in our world class technical academies in Aldridge and Telford and building stronger partnerships with employers. With the possibility of a new Government imminent, we are urging whoever gets in power to take measures to boost their commitment to vocational learning both in the short and the long-term.” 

The In-Comm Training Awards were made possible by headline sponsor the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) and other sponsors, including Assa Abloy, Black Country Chamber of Commerce, Collins Aerospace, Crowe LLP, EAL, FBC Manby Bowdler, Gestamp, In-Comm TMG, MAGNA and the Peter Wood Memorial charity. 

In Comm Training and Business Services and Engineering Technology Group