A talented young sports apprentice has netted the top spot at
this year's Gateshead College employee 'Oscars'.
Nineteen-year-old Christopher Laidlaw, from Blyth, won the
'Employee of the Year' at the college's annual staff awards
ceremony held at the Academy for Sport after receiving the most
votes from work colleagues.
Christopher started last September when he secured a Level 2
sports apprenticeship at the college and, after impressing
with his enthusiasm, commitment and willingness to learn, has seen
this extended by another 18 months.
He now aims to build on his success by taking his Level 3
apprenticeship to further his work experience and boost his
knowledge and skills to become a better sports coach. More longer
term he's aiming to gain a full time job in coaching at Gateshead
College or a job working in a similar sports environment.
The awards, which this year saw a record number of nominations,
are given to those employees who best embody the college's values
of hard work, achievement and teaching excellence.
Gateshead College's commitment to its employees and being a good
employer has also been recognised at a national level.
For the third year in a row, it was recently named among The
Sunday Times' 100 Best Not for Profit Organisations to Work For -
the only college and one of 10 North East regional organisations to
Presenting the award at the staff conference, Richard Thorold,
principal of Gateshead College, offered his congratulations to
He added: "His tremendous hard work and dedication have clearly
been recognised by his work colleagues and made a significant
contribution to sports coaching.
"He is always helping and supporting others while his positive
attitude towards his studies and peers will, I have no doubt,
enable him to go onto further success in his Level 3 apprenticeship
"He is also one of the nicest people you could ever meet or work
with and I'm personally delighted that his commitment and
achievements have been recognised with this award."
Christopher Laidlaw said: "I really couldn't believe it when my
name was called as there were so many other worthy colleagues
nominated. It was a huge shock but I am so thrilled - it was
a special moment.
"I have learned so much in this last year, working alongside
some great coaches who have been generous enough to pass their
knowledge and advice on to me.
"It has been great to see how much the students have improved in
their sports since September - it's been a real privilege to be
involved in teaching them and a part of their development."
Christopher was joined on the winners' podium by David Leath
(Manager of the Year), Norman Wallace (Business, innovation and
Development Employee of the Year), Alex Rutherford (Support Staff
employer of the Year, Vicki Hodgson and Richard Winship (both