OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION AWARD
By Simon Taylor
In May, I received a call to inform me that I had been nominated and had, in fact, won The David Caulfield Outstanding Contribution Award to the Industry at the BKU Awards for our support and promotion of apprenticeships. I was only informed beforehand because this one category allows the recipient to make a speech, which needed to be written in advance of the event, being held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel on 9th June.
It also gave me the opportunity to invite some special people to the Awards, including longstanding members of my team and our longest-serving apprentice, Lorenzo. I also had the honour of inviting my wife, Deborah, my son, George, my sister, Juliette and my mother, Rosemary. My mother has always been incredibly supportive of me, making countless sacrifices to help me get into college, and then, to help me set up my business. She later went on to work full-time at Simon Taylor Furniture for five years. It will be a lasting memory for me that I was able to personally thank her in my speech, and she received rapturous applause when I did so.
This is the fifth award that we have received in the past 12 months, and the second for the promotion of an apprenticeship scheme that we run in partnership with Rycotewood College, based in Oxford. This is a fantastic programme where our apprentices receive training and experience at our cabinet workshop in Bierton, together with academic learning at Rycotewood over a two-year period. At the end of the course, the apprentice receives a Level 2 Furniture Manufacturer Apprenticeship qualification. I am already in talks with the college to partner with them on different courses, and to bring more apprentices into the workplace.