The winners of the Apprentice Bake Off were Will Allen (trainee quantity surveyor) and Emma Hawkins (trainee design manager) at Sir Robert McAlpine.

Apprentices from across the North East had to rise to the occasion during a ‘bake off’ style competition at Sage Gateshead to celebrate the start of National Apprenticeship Week (NAW).

In teams of two, 16 apprentices and four ambassadors from the North East Ambassador Network took on the challenge of creating two themed bakes in two and a half hours in Sage Gateshead’s kitchens.*

The apprentices came from organisations including Sir Robert McAlpine, Northumberland Health Trust, Sage Gateshead, Newcastle Building Society, GSK and Cumbria and Northumberland Tyne & Wear Health Trust.

NAW celebrates the apprenticeship success stories across the country. This year’s theme is ‘Look Beyond’, focusing on the diversity and value that apprenticeships bring to employers, apprentices and communities.

George Ritchie MBE, Chair of the North East Ambassador Network, said:

“National Apprenticeship Week is a fantastic way of raising awareness of apprentice opportunities  and encouraging greater engagement by employers, especially SMEs.

“The Apprentice Bake Off has motivated the apprentices to try something outside of their comfort zone and give them a different experience. We also hope profiling the apprenticeship schemes in the region will show young people that there are great quality jobs and opportunities out there.”

Sage Gateshead delivers a Creative Apprenticeship programme, giving young people a new, alternative route into the creative industries with placements at cultural venues across the region and the chance to hear from industry experts. The music centre also takes on apprentices to come and train in different departments of the organisation.

Matthew Baldwin, 19 from Durham, is currently working as an apprentice in the finance team. He said:

“I chose an apprenticeship after sixth form rather than going to University, because I felt that it better suited the route I wanted to take.

“It’s given me the opportunity to gain work-place experience while still gaining valuable qualifications that will help me progress in the financial sector. I’ve learnt so much by working in a big organisation like Sage Gateshead and the support has been fantastic.”

Abigail Pogson, Managing Director at Sage Gateshead, said:

“The creative industry is one of the fastest growing sectors and there are a huge range of opportunities available.

“The idea of ‘looking beyond’ is absolutely what Sage Gateshead is about and we are really proud to look after the network of creative apprentices in the North East.”

*The first challenge was to bake a cake that represented North East apprenticeships and the second bake had to include the herb Sage.

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