19 October 2022

Alumnus wins Apprentice of the Year!

Niles Lambourne

Niles Lambourne, who studied BTEC Business at East Sussex College Lewes from 2018 - 2020, won an award for Apprentice of the Year at the Eastbourne Business Awards last month.

Former ESC Business student, Niles, was presented with an award for Apprentice of the Year at the Eastbourne Business Awards. Niles, who currently works as an apprentice at EAG Marketing in Eastbourne, was selected alongside other winners at the awards evening from over 100 first-class finalists!

Speaking to the College about his award, Niles said, “The overall experience was fantastic. To this day, I still can't believe I won! It was great to see my hard work acknowledged at such a prestigious event. My journey since beginning my Apprenticeship has been far from straight forward. I originally started in the Financial Services industry. Unfortunately, this did not work out for me and I was lucky enough to find another employer to take me on. Although I did not see this at the time, it was the kick I needed to push forward in my career! The hardest part of receiving the award was speaking in front of the 400+ people who attended the award ceremony. This was certainly nerve-wracking, however it has made me more confident to do something like that again in the future.

“The support from the College, and Michele Plant [Niles’ Business tutor at ESC] specifically, has been great. I finished my Business Diploma in 2020 and I will be the first to admit I was far from the ideal student. With the support of Michele, as well as my other teachers, I was able to achieve a MMM overall which certainly helped me get my Apprenticeship in the first place!”

He added, “The support of the College, and Michele, did not stop when I left college. I have often got in contact with Michele to get references, advice and motivate me to pursue my goals within the work environment. In my opinion, ESC Lewes and Michele have gone above and beyond for me since beginning my Business Diploma in 2018. This is something I am truly grateful for and one of the many reasons why I would recommend East Sussex College to anyone.”

Speaking on whether College prepared him for the workplace, Niles said, “It certainly did. Although I was working whilst at college, it helped me understand the fundamental skills required to be an integral part of a team within a business environment. My Business Diploma covered areas such as HR, Marketing and Project Management - areas which I now cover on a daily basis. I truly believe that the Business Diploma course helped me dramatically in being able to have this responsibility and complete these job roles to a high level.

“Not only this, but as cliché as it sounds, it helped me rekindle a love towards learning. I reflect on my college experience fondly and I had a fantastic time. When I finished my Business Diploma, I knew I wanted to continue gaining qualifications, learning and trying to better myself - a mindset that I did not have prior to enrolling.”

On his plans going forward, Niles said, “Currently, I am still an apprentice at EAG Marketing Ltd. I recently finished managing a helpline for the hosts/sponsors of Ukrainian refugees that were coming into East Sussex. During this experience, I managed a small team which helped thousands of families from such a catastrophic event - an achievement I am truly proud of.

“I am also studying for a Level 3 qualification in Team Leadership/Supervision with an expected end date of April 2023. I would recommend an Apprenticeship to anyone as an alternative to university. I originally thought that Apprenticeships were only for people who were going into a traditional trade, builder, electrician etc - however this is not the case! Whether you have career goals in running a business, working in health care or being a vet, I’m sure there is an Apprenticeship out there for you!”

Niles added, “Beginning in April 2023, I will start a Degree Apprenticeship via Arden University. I will be enrolling on a Business Management BA which is completely online and will be completed alongside my normal job responsibilities. One of the many reasons why I would advocate this is because it leaves you with no student debt and it can be co-funded by the government meaning very little cost to your employer! As well as this, you get to implement what you learn into the work environment to see what works for you. When I was leaving college, I remember worrying that the traditional university route wasn't quite for me. If this is you, I would certainly look into degree apprenticeships!”

Niles’ nomination was supported by his former tutor Michele Plant, who provided the former ESC student with a glowing reference.

Speaking on Niles’ Apprentice of the Year award, Michele said, “In August, Niles contacted me as I was his teacher in Business, and asked me if I would do a reference for his application for Young Apprentice of the Year, which I did! Niles advised me that he’d been shortlisted, then been put through as a finalist and then at the start of October he told me he’d won!

“Niles was a character at college and really got involved with Business. The students had to come up with a business and pitch to industry guests (Dragons’ Den style) and Niles’ group came up with a great clothing brand and pitched it so well. He achieved MMM for his qualification, and had the seeds to go into the workplace and do well.”

To find out more about Apprenticeships on offer at East Sussex College and explore a wide variety of industry sectors, please visit: www.escg.ac.uk/apprenticeships/our-industry-sectors.