Katie Corcoran, 20, and Robert Whitehead, 22, received NEPIC Apprentice of the Year awards at an annual event which celebrates outstanding achievements of the companies and individuals who make up the chemical-processing industries in the North East.
Second year BSc (Hons) Chemistry student Katie is serving an apprenticeship at GSK Barnard Castle, where she works as a lab analyst while studying for her degree part-time.
Katie’s role involves testing raw materials before they are used to manufacture products. In addition, she is the Northern lead for NxtGen, a STEM ambassador and the point of contact for GSK apprentices across four sites.
Robert is studying BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering part-time and recently completed an advanced apprenticeship with Jacobs, in Stockton, where he now works as a Mechanical Designer.
His role involves working on 2D designs within the Nuclear and Defence Business stream and he too is a STEM ambassador.
To be eligible for the NEPIC Apprentice of the Year awards, Katie and Robert had to submit an application and gain endorsement from their employers. As well as the prestige of the awards, they each also received a £1,000 prize.
Katie said: 'I have always been interested in science and feel like the apprenticeship has been a fantastic opportunity for me. It enables me to study towards a degree part-time, while also gaining experience in a job which I really enjoy.
Studying part-time while completing an apprenticeship has surpassed my expectations.
'I was delighted to win the award and think it will really help me to progress with my career.'
Robert added: 'Studying part-time while completing an apprenticeship has surpassed my expectations. It has given me practical experience when I am still young and enthusiastic about the industry.
'The award will help me to stand out and is recognition for the work that I have been doing.'
Katie received the Apprentice of the Year award for Manufacturing, Current, while Robert’s prize was for Service and Supply Chain. Jack Kerr, who completed a HNC Engineering with Teesside University through Redcar & Cleveland College, also won an Apprentice of the Year award for Manufacturing, Completed.
Melanie Brown, Principal Lecturer in Teesside University’s School of Science, Engineering & Design, said: 'These awards are fantastic recognition for all the hard work and dedication the students have demonstrated – both in the workplace and during their time at University.
'We are incredibly proud of their success and are sure that will continue as they progress with their chosen careers.'