The Press continue with its profiles of the winners of our 2023 business awards.
Today, we feature Debbie Bullock of Aviva, who is our Apprentice of the Year.
Aviva is a leading Insurance, Wealth & Retirement business.
It currently has nearly 300 apprentices, ranging from ages 17 to 58 across the UK and Ireland.
The company’s Debbie Bullock, Head of DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) and Wellbeing Lead for Aviva, is the Apprentice of the Year.
Judges said: “Debbie Bullock set an example to us showing the benefits of lifelong learning with Aviva as a supportive employee who believes that apprenticeships are not just for the under 25’s but are for everyone.”
Debbie completed a Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship at York St John University (in management and leadership).
She was awarded the Degree with First Class Honours, and the Apprenticeship with a Distinction.
She said: “Absolutely flabbergasted to win, and very honoured. Being shortlisted was an achievement (and congrats to my fellow nominees), but to win was the icing on the cake.
“Winning also helps break down the stereotypes people have about apprenticeship, and about people in the insurance industry! Apprenticeships are for anyone at any age. I didn’t go to University when I left school at 16 - in fact I went straight to work for one of Aviva’s predecessor companies General Accident, and I’ve been there ever since. So I was immensely proud to graduate at York Minster, dressed in cap and gown, watched by my parents, husband and children. To receive this award really is unexpected but flipping awesome!
“I promote that apprenticeships can be any level up to Masters (mine was a degree), you can start them at any age, and then can be used to reskill and improve skills, they aren’t just for the start of your career. Apprenticeships are growing and we have nearly 300 at Aviva ranging in age from late teens to their late 50s. I’m very proud to be a spokesperson and advocate for Aviva’s apprenticeship programme, encouraging others to take that step.
“I’ll use the award to continue to promote our ethos at Aviva that age is no barrier to opportunity, that learning is for life.
“Organisations should think about how they can use apprenticeship for their existing employees as well as new starters to create a learning culture, and I’d like to thank Aviva (particularly Sophie Money, our Apprentices Lead), my tutors and class mates at York St John, and my family for the support during the apprenticeship. If you get the chance - do it!”