Dog grooming business highly commended in National Apprenticeships Awards

November 2014

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

A dog grooming business which employs Writtle College apprentices is celebrating after being highly commended in the National Apprenticeships Awards.

After winning the Newcomer Employer of the Year SME category at the regional final of the apprenticeship awards in London, Ilford-based Paw-fect went onto the national finals, where the micro-business was highly commended.

Following the awards ceremony at the LG Arena in Birmingham <13 November>, Paw-fect will now feature in the prestigious Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list, which is produced by the National Apprenticeship Service in partnership with City & Guilds.

The business works with the Writtle College apprenticeships team and has expanded the company by recruiting two Writtle College apprentices; 20-year-old Kirsty Leeder, from Dagenham, an Advanced Apprentice; and 19-year-old Carla Garey, from Dagenham.

Owner Stacy Ismael, 44, is extremely proud of the achievement and said: “We are completely ecstatic about being highly commended in such a prestigious national award. It is a fantastic achievement for me and the girls and is testament to the hard work that goes on at Paw-fect.

“It is my belief that an apprenticeship programme is the perfect solution for staffing a micro business and I am extremely proud that I have offered two young people the opportunity to train for their chosen career. It has been a joy to see them grow as individuals in the workplace.

“I'm also very thankful to Writtle College and could not have done it all without their apprenticeship team. They've been so helpful and have guided me through the scheme step-by-step and supported me with recruitment. Not only that but their communication has also been brilliant and they've been heavily involved with the assessments carried out at the shop, which has been a bonus.”

The Writtle College apprenticeships team is managed by Vicky Hitcham. She said: “Paw-Fect is a fantastic example of how the Apprenticeship programme can benefit companies of all sizes and support them to grow their business. It has been rewarding supporting Stacy as she expanded the business by training dedicated and enthusiastic apprentices like Kirsty and Carla. ”

Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “The National Apprenticeship Awards recognise the very best and all of the finalists should be feeling very proud. Recognising excellence encourages others to achieve and I hope that people and employers will be inspired by our finalists’ stories to discover what apprenticeships can do for them.

“Apprenticeships are thriving in England. They are becoming an increasingly popular option for businesses and it’s easy to see why. They enable companies to grow their own workforce, providing highly-qualified and motivated employees. Apprentice employers report real business benefits.

“Apprenticeships also offer ambitious unrivalled career prospects, enabling people to get in and go far with some of Britain’s leading companies. The continuing expansion of higher apprenticeships means apprentices can now train to degree level in more sectors than ever before, providing further opportunities for individuals to fully realise their potential and maximise their career progression.

“I congratulate all this year’s finalists and wish them well for the future.”

For more information about the National Apprenticeship Awards or to view the full City & Guilds Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list, visit

• Writtle College offers Apprenticeships in Agriculture, Animal Care (including Dog Grooming), Environmental Conservation, Equine Studies, Floristry, Horticulture and Veterinary Nursing. To find out more about Apprenticeships, please visit