Press release

Bright spark from Reading wins top industry prize

19 November 2015

An apprentice network engineer from Reading has beaten off tough competition to be crowned this year’s winner of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Apprentice of the Year Award.

James Garnham has scooped a top prize in a set of awards which recognise the best and the brightest apprentices and technicians in the UK. He received his award during a prestigious Awards ceremony which took place in London yesterday, hosted by science presenter, Maggie Philbin.

James is currently an Apprentice Network Engineer for Cisco Systems. Working in the Solution Validation Services Centre of Excellence, his role is to test projects for customers from start to finish. His projects deal with high profile corporations such as Vodafone or BP who require updates or upgrades to networks – for example, testing new features, different software versions on hardware, or even brand new hardware solutions.

As an apprentice, James has been lucky enough to carry a great deal of responsibility, often tasked with finding defects that need to be rectified immediately – to prevent compromising business. For each project, he scopes a technical plan of requirements and develops a detailed test plan – working with the customer to find out what the best solution is for them.

Recently, James was instrumental in Cisco’s lab consolidation project, delivering huge savings for the firm in time, space and money. His success motivated the Cisco team to further invest in apprenticeships by sponsoring two additional roles for the 2015 – proving how inspirational James and his work is to others.

Committed to his work, James is an incredibly deserving recipient who is not only an exceptional performer – ranked within the top 15% of all Cisco employees – but also a real asset to the company, regularly volunteering to share his experiences to encourage people to consider engineering careers in technology.

This award is part of the IET’s Apprentice and Technician Awards scheme, which aims to raise the profile of the excellent work that apprentices and technicians contribute to engineering businesses.

As IET Apprentice of the Year, James has won a £1,000 prize, two years’ free membership of the IET and payment of his professional registration application fee – a great starting package for a long and prosperous career.

Naomi Climer, IET President, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and James should be very proud to have won this award. He faced some stiff competition and the honour therefore really shows the standard of excellence that James is committed to as an apprentice – leading the way as a bright, young spark in his field.

“Apprentices and technicians are essential to engineering companies, but are rarely rewarded for their efforts and contributions. These awards provide a real opportunity for the industry to acknowledge and to celebrate the best apprentices and technicians in the field.”

On winning the award, James said: “I’m delighted to have been chosen as the IET Apprentice of the Year 2015. I’m grateful to my team at Cisco for all the support they have given me – and the opportunities that they give me to push myself and excel. I’m looking forward to a long, rewarding career in engineering and I hope that this award can inspire other like-minded young people to join the industry.

The Apprentice and Technician Awards are part of the IET’s Achievement Awards and Scholarships programme, which this year provided over £1million in awards, prizes and scholarships to celebrate excellence and research in the sector and encourage the next generation of engineers and technicians. All IET awards seek to inspire and reward engineering excellence, including apprentices at the start of their careers, through to reputable, established professional engineers and technicians.

Find out more about the Apprentice and Technician Awards here: www.theiet.org/apprentice-awards.

Media enquiries to:

Hannah Kellett
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7738 602426
Email: HKellett@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

  • Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespeople from a broad range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and women in engineering.
  • The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with over 163,000 members in 127 countries. It is also the most interdisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.
  • The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.
  • For more information, visit www.theiet.org
  • Follow the IET on Twitter.