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Apprentice James shortlisted for Made in Midlands Award

Buxton & Leek College Apprentice James Birks has been shortlisted as Apprentice of the Year in the Insider Made in the Midlands awards.

19-year-old James, from Stoke, is currently an apprentice at Buxton manufacturing and engineering firm Flowflex and is studying Level 3 Engineering at Buxton & Leek College.

The Apprentice of the Year award recognises the hard work, dedication and determination of individual apprentices who are currently working in the manufacturing sector.

Buxton & Leek College’s Engineering Assessor, Nick Grayson, said: “We’re really proud of James for being shortlisted for this award. He’s worked extremely hard in his apprenticeship at Flowflex and has undertaken a unique role which combines design, manufacture, prototyping and testing.

“He’s made a real impact during his time there and, with support from his employer Flow Flex, has contributed significantly to improving the manufacturing process and prototyping, along with building his skills. He’s always willing to learn and develop himself as an engineer, which is really important when working in an industry that’s constantly changing. We want to wish James and Flowflex the very best of luck in the awards!”

Steve Millward, Manufacturing Manager at Flowflex said: “Flowflex has recently committed to a program of recruitment utilising the apprenticeship levy. We realised that due to the poor availability of skilled engineers, this would be the only way to expand our business and replace our older skilled and experienced personnel as they approach their retirement.

“James was among the first to be recruited and has proven to be a great success story for us, we are very pleased and proud that he has been shortlisted for Apprentice of the Year. Through his efforts he has become an outstanding member of staff and we are sure he is destined for a great future at Flowflex.

“We wish him all the very best of luck with the Made in the Midlands awards.”

The winners of the Insider Made in the Midlands awards will be announced on 3rd September at a gala awards evening held at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel in Birmingham.

Apprenticeships are for all ages, not just school leavers. To find out more about the current apprenticeship jobs available with Buxton & Leek College visit, call 0800 074 0099 or email

If you’re an employer looking to find out more about how an apprentice can benefit your business, contact Tom Malpass on 01298 330526 / 07717 348990 or email