Covid hero wins Best Overall Apprentice of the Year

Covid hero wins Best Overall Apprentice of the Year

Stockport College has honoured 36 apprentices and employers at an online version of its annual Apprenticeship Awards, crowning a Covid hero best overall apprentice.

Harrison Barnett Sized

Of the 20 apprentices and 16 businesses recognised for their commitment to training in areas as diverse as building to teaching, lab technician Harrison Barnett stood out for his efforts to help tackle the spread of the deadly virus.

At the start of the pandemic Harrison’s skills were called upon to help process thousands of Covid tests for Medicines Discovery Catapult at Lighthouse Labs, set up at the site of vaccine researcher AstraZeneca in Alderley Edge.

When he didn’t have his arms inside a biological safety cabinet testing vast numbers of samples, Harrison was gaining experience at the teaching laboratories of the University of Salford while studying for an NVQ Diploma in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities (LATA) with the College Group.

Harrison said: “It was incredibly rewarding being able to play a part in helping combat the spread of the virus, it might have involved getting up early in the morning to travel to the testing site, but the job felt really felt worthwhile.

“My apprenticeship really opened my eyes to the world of science and the lines of work people pursue. I really enjoyed coming into College to learn techniques I hadn’t encountered before. It was a great place to gain the knowledge and skills I was able to apply to my workplace during my apprenticeship.”

Harrison, who also studied A Levels with the College Group, received the overall achievement award as well as a certificate for Lab Technician Apprentice of the Year, which he can add to a trophy cabinet already containing an outstanding apprentice award from the Institute of Science and Technology, presented by Britain’s first cosmonaut Helen Sharman in 2019.

The rising star is now working full time at the University of Salford while studying for a degree in chemistry and scored an impressive 95% on his first assessment.

Trafford College together with Stockport College is one of the largest apprenticeship providers in Greater Manchester. CEO and Principal of the College Group James Scott said: “I’d like to congratulate all our award winners for continuing to provide first-class training during what has been an incredibly challenging time. Many of our apprentices and employers have gone the extra mile to build the future workforce of this region, and Harrison is an excellent example of the crucial roles apprentices have played on the frontline. Inspiring apprentices like these will form an integral part of the recovery process.”