HIT Heroes Winners Unveiled in Celebration Event


Following a closely fought public vote, the final winners were announced in a superhero style presentation to champion the fantastic work of both apprentices and apprenticeship employers across the country. Ten winners were announced in the ceremony including overall Apprentice of the Year and Employer of the Year.  

The HIT Heroes Awards aim to recognise the important role that apprenticeships play in empowering people of all ages and walks of life in the hospitality industry. The awards also highlight the individual drive and development of apprentices to become future hospitality leaders.

Jill Whittaker, Managing Director of HIT Training Ltd, says: “We are hugely proud of our inspiring apprentices and employers who have shown an unquenchable drive and passion for our industry. “The HIT Heroes Awards are a special date in our calendar because we celebrate the vital role they play when it comes to individual career development as well as strengthening the sector as a whole.”

Apprentices and apprenticeship employers were asked to nominate themselves or others for a HIT Heroes Award with categories including Extra Mile Apprentice of the Year and Best Community Outreach Employer of the Year. A judging panel of industry experts then selected winners for overall Apprentice of the Year and Employer of the Year.

Winner of the 2021 Apprentice of the Year went to Michael Mercer who completed a Level 3 Facilities Management Supervisor apprenticeship with Sodexo. His leadership journey started with Sodexo in 2019 where he was promoted from Head Chef to Catering Manager at Bulford Army Camp.

Michael told the judges: “It’s quite a shock to win! I’m so happy to receive this award. A big thank you to everyone who voted for me.”

YHA (England & Wales) was crowned Employer of the Year.

Receiving the award, recruitment and training manager Dawn Holden, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to win this award and accept it on behalf of the learning and development team and even more so for all the determination and hard work of our apprentices, line managers and mentors. I’m really proud of all their achievements.”

We’d like to say a huge thank you from everyone at HIT who contributed to the awards.

Addressing apprentices and employers across the country, Jill told the event:  “Keep on doing what you are doing, keep inspiring others and keep on helping to strengthen our whole industry. You really are superheroes.”

HIT Heroes Award Winners 2021

Apprentices:

  • Johnny Daws – Hospitality Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by GetMyFirstJob

  • Daniel Rox Palomeque – Chef Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Koppert Cress

  • Michael Mercer – Leadership Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Institute of Hospitality

  • Mason Carman – Extra Mile Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Professional Assessment Limited

Apprenticeship Employers:

  • Beyond Food Foundation – Small Employer of the Year – Sponsored by British Institute of Innkeeping

  • The Star at Cotton – Medium Employer of the Year – Sponsored by Flow Learning by Mapal

  • Compass Group UK & Ireland – Large Employer of the Year – Sponsored by Hospitality Jobs UK

  • YHA (England & Wales) – Best Community Outreach Employer of the Year – Sponsored by Professional Assessment Ltd

Overall Apprentice of the Year: 

  • Michael Mercer

Overall Employer of the Year: 

  • YHA (England & Wales)

To watch the award ceremony on catch up, go to the HIT Facebook page and the HIT YouTube Page: HIT Training – Home | Facebook or 2021 HIT Heroes Winners Celebration Event

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