Visitor Centre Chef named Apprentice Achiever of the Year

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Visitor Centre Chef named Apprentice Achiever of the Year
Brandon Penwarden, an 18-year-old chef from our Visitor Centre has been awarded Apprentice Achiever of the Year at the fifth annual Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards. He's currently undertaking our award-winning chef scholarship, established in partnership with Truro and Penwith College.

The Achiever of the Year award, voted for by members of the public, is presented to an individual who has overcome adversity - or some form of personal challenge - to complete their apprenticeship. 

Brandon, who was described by judges as ‘determined, courageous and inspirational’ was diagnosed with cancer on the brain when he was 18 months old. Surgery meant he had to re-learn to walk and talk, putting him two years behind those of the same age. This also resulted in Hemiplegia - paralysis of one side of the body - and doctors predicting that Brandon would never walk again. But with hard work and determination, Brandon limited the effects to muscles in his left arm.

Now working towards his level 2 qualification at our Visitor Centre, Brandon successfully assists chefs with his preparation work. He previously worked in the kitchen at the Pier House in Charlestown - one of our busiest sites.

Jon Kelley, our Early Years Career Liaison said: “Brandon continues to amaze everybody that he meets, both at work and at college.

“He’s a role model that everyone can learn from proving that regardless of your circumstances, if you have the opportunity and the right level of determination and perseverance, your apprenticeship will bring you great rewards.”

Brandon says: “I’ve learnt a lot of new skills during my apprenticeship, with the support of my colleagues at St Austell Brewery as well as my tutors at Truro and Penwith College. Working as a chef was initially quite difficult, because of my disability, but I’ve adapted to it over time and I’m really proud of myself. I’m so happy to have been recognised for my achievements at the awards. It was a brilliant night!”

We were also highly commended in 5 other award categories, including the Beacon Award for Inclusive Apprenticeships and Large Employer of the Year. Chloe Brown was highly commended in the Business Apprentice of the Year category and Haydn Rogers for Engineering and Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year. Meanwhile, Martina Jovanovic and Callum Weston were both highly commended for Hospitality Apprentice of the Year.

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