The North West Aerospace Alliance (NWAA) held their annual New Talent Awards on the 3rd March 2016 recognising and rewarding the achievements of young apprentices and trainees from the North West of England’s aerospace and defence industry.

The ceremony, held at the prestigious Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, saw awards handed out to the region’s best young talent and speeches from previous winner of the One to Watch award Ryan Worthington, Rolls Royce and Wing Commander Martin Higgins, Commanding Officer Royal Airforce Aerobatic Team.

This year the winner of the award of North West’s Best Aerospace & Defence Apprentice, along with the £1000 prize kindly sponsored by recruitment consultants Neville Gee, went to Aiva Melngaile from Safran Aircelle. The runner-up prize, sponsored by the IET (Institute of Engineering and Technology), was awarded to Megan Wilcock from Rolls Royce.

Jack Stezaker from BAE Systems carried off the “One to Watch” trophy, sponsored by AGP ESP (Employer Skills Programmes), while Paradigm Precision Ltd scooped the Employer & Training Provider prize sponsored by Preston’s College.

The Innovation Award, sponsored by Hyde Group, went to Alex Todd from Paradigm Precision Ltd. This award is about recognising an individual who, through their innovative thinking and outstanding engineering skills, has brought successful change to the business.

NWAA’s Business University Challenge aims to bring business apprentices, university and college students together to compete head-to-head in a series of challenges to test their negotiation, innovation, communication and presenting skills.

Twelve teams of young people from North West universities, colleges and aerospace businesses competed for the title at Preston’s College in January. Hycrome Europe Ltd were revealed as the winning team and presented with £1,500 prize money by Royal Aeronautical Society and a trophy sponsored by Wincanton. Two Professional Excellence awards and prize money of £200, sponsored by Safran Aircelle, were presented to Harry Ingle from Hycrome Europe Ltd and Ashley Howard from Isle of Man College of Further & Higher Education who both displayed outstanding leadership and performance during the Business University Challenge. 

David Bailey, Chief Executive Officer at NWAA, said: “The New Talent Awards has become a key event for the North West’s Aerospace and Defence Sector. It is important that we continue to recognise and reward the achievements of the talent emerging in our industry. It is hugely important to our industry that we increase the numbers of talented young people into apprenticeships to plug the skills gap that threatens our ability to achieve the growth the aerospace market is experiencing.

Winner of the North West’s Best Aerospace & Defence Apprentice Award, Aiva Melngaile of Safran Aircelle


Images from the New Talent Awards event held on 3rd of March  are available to download here:

Event partner: Isle of Man Aerospace Cluster

Sponsors of the New Talent Awards are:

  • Neville Gee Recruitment – North West’s Best Apprentice Winners Prize Money
  • IET The Institute of Engineering & Technology – The North West’s Best Apprentice  Runner Up Prize Money
  • MBDA Missile Systems – Drinks Reception
  • Employer Skills Programme – The One to Watch Award
  • BAE Systems, Wincanton, P.P. Group, FORCAM, Kaman, Burnley College, Nelson &  Colne College, Training 2000, Preston’s College, Manchester University, Paradigm  Precision, Hyde Group

Sponsors of the Business University Challenge are:

  • Prize Money – Wincanton
  • Winners Trophy – Royal Aeronautical Society
  • Professional Excellence Individual Awards – Safran Aircelle

Winning team members:

Company Name – Hycrome

  • Harry Ingle
  • Connor Tattersall
  • Ben Clarke


Company Name – Nelson & Colne College

  • Megan Wilcock
  • Matthew Gonzalez-Green
  • Phillip Whiteside

Company Name – MBDA Missile Systems

  • James Fleming
  • Lucy Thompson
  • Abbey Berry


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