A Southampton company is celebrating after scooping a major national award.

Griffon Hoverwork from Southampton has been named medium-sized Employer of the Year 2014 in the National Apprenticeship Awards at an exclusive ceremony at Birmingham’s LG Arena.

The awards, now in their 11th year, are run by the National Apprenticeship Service and recognise excellence in two areas: businesses that grow their own talent with apprentices and apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.

The company was chosen as the winner in recognition of its commitment to developing young people through apprenticeships.

Griffon Hoverwork is the largest producer of production hovercraft in the world and holds the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

There are currently 25 apprentices, aged 17 to 28, training as marine engineers, electricians and outfitters, GRP specialists, aluminium fabricators, welders and designers with the company.

Mike Chalkley, engineering director at Griffon Hoverwork, said: “We’re champions of apprenticeships and are doing all we can to raise their profile within the marine industry and beyond, so we’re delighted that our commitment has been recognised with this award.

“We’ve seen the benefits of apprenticeships to our business and want to encourage others to take action and reap the same rewards.

“This year we’ve saved £60,000 while giving employment and career opportunities that will span a lifetime to 20 local young people.

“It’s clear that our apprenticeship programme is mutually beneficial and we want to act as a role model for other employers who could create similar success stories.”

Daily Echo:

The ceremony, held during The Skills Show, the nation’s largest skills and careers event, also saw Griffon Hoverwork named in the prestigious Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list.

The list, which is compiled annually by the National Apprenticeship Service in partnership with City & Guilds, recognises excellence in businesses that employ apprentices.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Good quality apprenticeships create a fairer society by giving hard working young people the chance to aim for their dream job whilst playing their part in building a stronger economy for Britain.

“This year’s winners are an inspiration. They show that apprenticeships are an incredible opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge you need to succeed.”