Sports apprentice scores at Gateshead College ‘Oscars’

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 feature.

Presenting the award at the staff conference, Richard Thorold, principal of Gateshead College, offered his congratulations to Christopher.

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 next year.

"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 Academic Staff).