News / Babcock apprentice Craig Holmes wins coveted Northern Ireland Apprentice of the Year Award

Craig Holmes winning the NI Apprentice of the Year Award
Craig Holmes (pictured centre) with Economy Minister, Diane Dodds and former rugby player Tommy Bowe

We are delighted that Babcock trained apprentice Craig Holmes won the highly coveted Northern Ireland Apprentice of the Year 2020 at the prestigious Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Awards 2020!

With the ceremony taking place during 2020’s National Apprenticeship Week, these awards showcase the very best apprenticeship successes across Northern Ireland, celebrating the diversity of the NI Apprenticeship programme and celebrating outstanding apprentices and employers across a range of sectors.

Craig’s apprenticeship journey started in October 2017, when he was recruited by the Savers Store in Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre as a sales assistant, and enrolled on a level 2 retail apprenticeship with Babcock. From the moment he joined the store team, he realised a career in retail was the right choice, and his apprenticeship programme provided a structured programme of learning to support his ambitions. Benefitting from his level 2 programme and the personalised support of his Babcock trainer, Craig applied for a supervisor position within 12 months, and was over the moon to secure a promotion in November 2018. He has since progressed onto his NI Apprenticeship Level 3 Retail Sales Professional and is actively putting his apprenticeship learning into practice every day.

Not only has Craig personally benefitted from the outstanding development offered by an apprenticeship, he has gone above and beyond by promoting apprenticeships to employers and young people across NI. He attended the 2018 Skills Northern Ireland event where he took up the role as an Apprenticeship Ambassador, alongside featuring in Derry City and Strabane District Council’s ‘Get Paid, Get Qualified and Get Ahead’ apprenticeship campaign. Craig also won his employers ‘Savers Apprentice of the Year 2019 Award’, reflecting his new retail management skills.

Craig beat off some stiff competition to gain his award, with the judges recognising the skills and commitment Craig demonstrates on a daily basis! Talking about his achievements, Craig says “I am absolutely thrilled to have won this award, especially after hearing the stories of the other amazing finalists. My apprenticeship journey has transformed my career, and I am proud to have been given the opportunity to get involved in so many apprenticeship activities. This award is also fantastic recognition for my employer Savers, and acknowledges their continued investment in their people. Without their support and my Babcock apprenticeships I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Savers Area Manager Marie Graffin adds “From the moment the local Savers management team employed Craig we just knew he was something special. From day one, Craig’s exceptional customer service has inspired the other team members and helped drive team sales performance. He has made a huge contribution to Savers, underpinned by the ongoing development from his retail apprenticeships. At Savers we are passionate about investing in our people, and our partnership with Babcock in the delivery of apprenticeships continues to be a great success. Craig has a very bright career ahead of him in Savers and is a worthy winner of this prestigious award – we couldn’t be more delighted to share in his success!”

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This project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy