IT’S been a busy period in Dorset Chamber with an excellent networking event that culminated with our President’s Lunch, attended by 180 business people, writes Ian Girling...

We were honoured to have the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset as well as the Mayors of Bournemouth and Poole in attendance as well as our guest speaker Jeremy Hicks, UK Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover.

During the lunch we were privileged to present the Warde Apprenticeship Award to an apprentice that has made an outstanding contribution to their workplace. This award, sponsored by Geoff Warde, celebrates the value of apprenticeships in the workplace and reward the achievements of a particular young person.

The judges included myself, Geoff Warde and representatives from the Employment and Skills Board and the Dorset and Somerset Training Provider Network, and were faced with the tough challenge of selecting a winner from over 30 applications.

What struck us was the fantastic contribution these young people make in their businesses.

We received applications from sectors including engineering, manufacturing, equine, hairdressing and business administration.

It was clear these young people are keen to learn, determined and motivated.

We were extremely impressed by their attitude to work and it was clear their employers highly value their role and contribution to their respective businesses.

Young people too often get a very poor press or are dismissed as lazy or not having the basic skills for work.

This award really highlights the huge contributions young people make to a business.

With so many of our workforce due to retire over the next few years, it is vital we embrace apprenticeships in succession planning.

And well done to our winner Scott Etches of Ten Acre Livery, supported by Kingston Maurward College.