18 February 2014 - This story is in archive

Daniella Di Stazio has been crowned the best Higher Apprentice in British engineering and advanced manufacturing at the inaugural Semta Skills Awards.

A 'real' experience

Daniella, 21, a Business Apprentice at MBDA UK in Stevenage received her award during a glittering ceremony at London's Park Plaza Riverbank, hosted by TV presenter Michael Underwood and where Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable MP gave the keynote speech.

A delighted Daniella told the audience: "Every week is different and never boring. I have the opportunity to fulfil real job roles, working to real business objectives and making true business decisions with real consequences. I am able to put into practice what I learnt in my degree, while working towards an NVQ Level 4 at the same time."

Proud

She has been into schools to promote apprenticeships, helped young people prepare for interviews and represented MBDA at careers fairs.

Daniella is due to complete her Higher Apprenticeship in September. She has already gained an NVQ level 3 and 4, as well as a Business Studies Honours Degree, with the support of her training provider, the University of Hertfordshire, while being involved in a major work project.

"I am working in a supply chain transformation team which aims to achieve our MD's vision to be the industrial leader in the supply chain," she said. "This role is not something that is normally offered to apprentices – it is part of a senior team I am working with – and I am really proud my manager selected me to fulfil this role."

Inspirational

Ann Watson, chief operating officer of Semta said: "Daniella is truly inspirational. She is a model apprentice – someone who earns while they learn, makes a significant contribution to the business and acts as a role model for others. She is a wonderful ambassador for young women in engineering."

The Higher Apprentice of the Year had to demonstrate outstanding performance and achievement within their framework and be prepared to act as an ambassador for vocational education and training.

Judges, led by category sponsors Rolls-Royce, were also looking for commitment to achieving the best possible results and proof that the apprentice's work is making a demonstrable contribution to their employer's business.