Paul Coward, a health and safety officer at James Hall & Co, won the Higher/Degree Apprentice of the Year at the Lancashire Apprenticeship Awards 2022.
Coward, 47, recently completed his Level 5 Operations Manager Apprenticeship with Distinction.
He was one of a trio of James Hall & Co employees shortlisted for the Lancashire Apprenticeship Awards 2022. Fellow finalists from the company were Rachael Hart, warehouse training coordinator, and Ashley Mercer, a maintenance supervisor.
Coward (pictured) commented: “I feel extremely happy to receive recognition for my work.
“I didn’t achieve very well at school and found that though I had the knowledge, I seemed to freeze and go blank in exam conditions. Through the blended learning and guidance in apprenticeships, you can display and discuss, show what you know, and how you know it. I think this is a better demonstration of you as a person and the ability that you have.”
He added: “I started working for James Hall & Co more than a decade ago in food production after being made redundant from being an NVQ Assessor. I have worked my way up through the company to my current position, developing through opportunities the company have provided for me and through my own determination to provide for my family.
“I started this course as I was looking to push myself to learn and grow, and it has enabled me to achieve that. I have always wanted to be able to learn and then onwardly aid others to learn, develop and grow themselves.”
Coward’s wealth of knowledge of how the food manufacturing department operates means he is one of the best placed employees in the business to be able to diligently carry out health & safety audits, explains the company.
During the pandemic, he ensured that testing procedures were meticulously followed at the food manufacturing site at James Hall & Co’s main depot in Preston, and at its other food businesses Clayton Park Bakery in Accrington and Fazila Foods in Bolton.
For the project part of his apprenticeship, he developed a health & safety portal for all food manufacturing areas, improving the access for managers across the business to key documents. The portal also acts as an alert for when assessments need reviewing in line with legal requirements.
Jayne Morgan, head of health & safety at James Hall & Co, commented: “Paul’s skillset has really flourished through his apprenticeship. Paul also now thinks more holistically about the business and the long-term impact of any actions and plans that he does as an individual or he advises management on, helping him to reach the best decision. He is very deserving of this apprenticeship award.”
Published Date: April 7, 2022