Dog grooming business on way to London Apprenticeship Awards 2014 finals!

July 2014

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

A dog grooming business which offers Apprenticeships to Writtle College students has been shortlisted for the London finals of a prestigious national award!

Paw-Fect, based in Ilford, has been selected from hundreds of entrants to go through to the London finals of the National Apprenticeship Awards 2014 in the Newcomer category – which means they have been judged to be in the top three regionally!

It is a huge achievement for the business, which is one of Writtle College’s Animal Care Apprenticeship employers, as it only has three employees – the owner Stacy Ismael; 20-year-old Kirsty Leeder, from Dagenham, an Advanced Apprentice from Writtle College; and 19-year-old Carla Garey, from Dagenham, a Writtle College Apprentice.

Vicky Hitcham, Employer Engagement Manager at Writtle College, said: “These awards are highly competitive, with hundreds of entries and last year’s national finalists were the likes of HSBC, BT, Greene King and ITV.

“Paw-Fect is a micro-company with just three employees so this is a huge achievement - we are thrilled for them as they really deserve it!

“The business offers our dog grooming students the opportunity to take the skills they have learnt in the commercial dog grooming parlour at Writtle College and gain vital practical experience in the industry alongside their qualification.

“Writtle College has seen its numbers of Apprentices rise over recent years, with students gaining qualifications and workplace experience in a wide range of land-based subjects. The fact that Paw-fect has been shortlisted for such a major award shows how Apprenticeships offer our students an extremely valuable learning experience.”

Stacy Ismael, 44, owner of Paw-Fect, said: “We were delighted to have been put through to the London regional finals. Myself, Kirsty and Carla have worked hard to provide a dedicated and skilled service to our customers, and for this to be acknowledged by such a prestigious achievement is fabulous news. We really feel that we could not have achieved all we have to date without the support and wonderful staff at Writtle College. “

The National Apprenticeship Awards, now in their eleventh year, celebrate the achievements of the country’s most outstanding apprentices and Apprenticeship employers. The award winners will be announced at a ceremony organised by the National Apprenticeship Service at City Hall on 23 September.

Sue Husband, Executive Director Apprenticeships and Delivery at the Skills Funding Agency, said: “Apprenticeships are thriving in England, and it’s not hard to see why. They offer ambitious young people and adults unrivalled career prospects, and give businesses an exceptional route to grow a highly qualified and motivated workforce.

“The National Apprenticeship Awards recognise the best of the best and are an excellent opportunity for individuals and employers to gain the credit they richly deserve for investing in their own futures. I am delighted that Paw-Fect has been shortlisted, and would like to congratulate them on this success. All of the finalists should be extremely proud of their achievements.”

All the London winners will proceed through to a final national judging stage. The highest scoring Apprenticeship employer entries nationally will have the additional honour of featuring in the acclaimed England’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list, which will be produced by the National Apprenticeship Service in partnership with City & Guilds.

The national award winners will be revealed during an awards ceremony at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham on the 13 November.

• 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