AN APPRENTICE has won a prestigious award in the South Cumbria and Lancashire NHS Apprenticeship Awards.

Amy Tomkins, who studies at the Channelside campus of Furness College, won the category of Perseverance in a glittering ceremony in Blackburn.

She was nominated for her commitment and going above and beyond in her work including mastering Makaton sign language, which is a language programme that uses signs together with speech and symbols.

The 19-year-old, who works with adults at Mill Lane Day Opportunities on Walney, said she was shocked to win as more than 300 people were entered for the awards.

She said: “I was really happy when I found out. I couldn’t make the awards as I was at work but my tutor Lynne rang me and she was so happy that I’d won.

“I didn’t think I’d win as there were so many people nominated from across both South Cumbria and Lancashire so it was a big surprise.

“I just enjoy everything about my job. No day is the same and some days I think I can’t believe I get paid to do this. I just like to encourage others and help others and we do all laugh together too.

“I’ve definitely found my niche. I was happy working in care but never really considered working with adults until now but as soon as I started I knew it is what I wanted to do.”

Amy has completed her Level Two and will be starting her Level Three apprenticeship as Lead Adult Care Worker in September at Furness College.

Her apprenticeship recruitment and development coach at Furness College Sadie White said her award was fully deserved.

She said: “We are all over the moon for her, it is well-deserved. If you see her in the workplace she is just amazing. She is cheerful, has bags of empathy, is kind, caring and very calm.

“She worked right through Covid and kept on top of her education without any need for us to follow up.

“She’s a natural working with adults with learning disabilities, she’s learned Makaton to improve how she communicates and you can see how happy and relaxed they are with her.”

Amy’s award was presented to Furness College Assistant Principal for Curriculum Sue Hannan on her behalf at the event and will be presented to her at college in the coming days.

Sue said: “It was fantastic to see the work of our students across the community honoured at these awards. Risedale Care Homes, where many of our students work, were highly commended in Employer of the Year and past sixth form students Ashleigh Thorne and Sydney Lee also won awards.

“We are really proud of the health and social care programmes we run across both our campuses that support people into careers in this sector. We also have T Levels in Health and new Healthcare Sciences that will ensure the future of the NHS is in very capable hands.”

Amy was among the winners across 11 categories featuring apprentices from social care, primary care, local authorities, North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and hospital trusts