Ebsford Environmental has been named Unilever Small Employer of the Year at the National Apprenticeship Awards.
The specialist consultant and contractor was recognised for its commitment to developing young people through apprenticeships at a ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House.
The Nostell firm launched its apprentice program in 2011 and now employs seven out of its 29 staff who are or have been apprentices in the business.
Nick Hartley, managing director, said: “We started offering apprenticeships shortly after we set up the business in 2011 and so far we have a 100 per cent retention rate. Offering apprenticeships has enabled our business to grow rapidly from £50,000 in the first year to £3 million a year turnover.
“It’s not just the business that benefits, as an environmental company we want to show we are committed to the local community and make our workforce sustainable. Through offering structured training we can ensure sustainable growth of the business whilst simultaneously improving youth unemployment in the area.
“We believe apprenticeships are one of the best and most rewarding ways of finding staff; you are changing people’s lives in a way that you don’t get just by giving someone a job. As a business owner you are recruiting young people at a crucial stage in their development, especially in socially deprived areas and using that is a fascinating way to grow the business.”
Ebsford was also named in the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer list, which recognises excellence in businesses that employ apprentices. The National Apprenticeship Awards recognise the many benefits apprenticeships bring to individuals and businesses.