Learners Honoured at BCS IT & Digital Apprenticeship Awards

We’re extremely proud to recognise the Cambridge Spark learners honoured at this year’s BCS IT & Digital Apprenticeship Awards celebrated last Thursday 15 June. The awards highlight the talents and achievements of apprentices, T-Level students and Bootcamp learners throughout the UK and across all digital disciplines.

Artificial Intelligence Apprentice of the Year

Nominees for Artificial Intelligence Apprentice of the Year award were evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Professionalism - Evaluation of the apprentice's ability to exceed objectives, showcasing excellent work ethic and values.
  • Innovation and added value - Assessment of the apprentice's innovative techniques and improvements made in their work and learning.
  • Role model - Recognition of the apprentice's positive influence and representation for their profession and digital apprenticeships.
  • Measurable success - Appraisal of the apprentice's tangible contributions over the past year and their potential future impact on their profession.

Winner: Martyna Jones, Data Analytics Manager at Marks and Spencer

Martyna has been involved in creating strategic transformation projects, such as activities related to the profitability of clothing products. She was also promoted twice within one year of starting her apprenticeship and has mentored and created opportunities for colleagues on the programme to deploy their new data skills at work.

Martyna-Jones-BCS-awards_250x250px"The apprenticeship has been a steep learning curve, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to learn new, cutting-edge skills and apply them within the business. Since starting the programme, I have been able to work on an increasing number of data projects and see my career progress as a result. In my current role, I am focusing on connecting more and more teams to a data-driven way of thinking and encouraging my team to embrace the challenge and opportunity offered by the AI apprenticeship." - Martyna Jones, Data Analytics Manager at Marks and Spencer

Highly commended: Adam Briggs, Stores Insight & Analytics Senior Manager at Dunelm

Adam has combined his data analysis and operations knowledge to grow the organisation’s sales. He’s also driven new customer-led store formats and leveraged collected data to foster a better understanding of store performance. He has a keen interest in introducing data-driven decision-making to non-technical teams, which has positively encouraged others in the business to develop data curiosity.

Adam-Briggs-BCS-awards_250x250px"I began my apprenticeship for two reasons, firstly I have a huge love of data & wanted to be able to maximise my skills and deliver meaningful (and value adding) work to my stakeholders and, secondly to take away some of my imposter syndrome.  To this end the apprenticeship has really helped, I’m more confident, can hold discussions with my peers at an equal level and I’m definitely able to use my new skills to add value.

"I’m truly humbled to have been selected as a finalist in the awards, having studied alongside some of the other finalists I can attest to the incredible level of skill they possess and the huge dedication and hard work that went into getting there; being able to share an accolade with them was an honour.  I’ve come away from the experience with a network of fantastic people who are open to offering support & a breadth of knowledge that has helped to embed the value of data into the business." - Adam Briggs, Stores Insight & Analytics Senior Manager at Dunelm

Special recognition: Elle Neal, Data Scientist at BPA Quality UK

Elle drove an impact with data within 3 months of starting the apprenticeship. She’s used her learnings to model customer satisfaction and automate processing for research data. And she has built AI applications that improve other learners' experience in ways such as enabling learners to easily find learning materials or helping them generate work-based project ideas based on their industry.

Elle also volunteers as a STEM Ambassador for young adults and has successfully created a free coding club for children aged 5-17.

Elle-Neal-BCS-awards_250x250px"I am so grateful to have been recognised by BCS in the Artificial Intelligence Apprentice of the Year award. The event was incredibly inspiring, and it was lovely to meet other learners and to see and hear about their achievements too.

"Since starting my apprenticeship last year, I have been so motivated and inspired by Cambridge Spark. The encouragement and recognition of my achievements have provided me with the confidence and capability to help others to learn and to talk openly about not only my successes but also my challenges. I was humbled to have been invited to present at the Cambridge Spark Industry Insights session, sharing my own personal story around neurodiversity and how I have used Generative AI to help mitigate my struggles and realise my strengths.

"One thing I know for sure is that the experience I have had whilst studying with Cambridge Spark will continue to motivate and inspire me for the rest of my career." - Elle Neal, Data Scientist at BPA Quality UK

In addition to those learners formally recognised above, three other Cambridge Spark learners were shortlisted nominees for this award:

  • Yann Depierre, Data Science and Performance Analysis Lead at GameBench: Yann saved time and reduced errors in processing data by using API calls to download and process the data in Python. He also worked to pioneer data science within his organisation by driving the implementation of techniques such as NLP for app reviews, correlation analysis of performance indicators, inferential statistics to compare market competitors' metrics, and sales forecasting using time series analysis.
  • Niveay Thurairatnam, Data Scientist at Mimecast: Niveay has effectively applied his learnings from the Level 7 AI and Data Science Apprenticeship since enrolling on the program. He has built automated reporting to both save time and enable researchers to respond better to customers. He has also creatively applied data science techniques learnt to new projects at work, such as time series modelling for churn and using NLP to detect impersonation.
  • Brian Bridge, Data Scientist at Collaboraite: Brian is involved in implementing AI/ML algorithms and software solutions. He completed a computer science degree at Liverpool Hope University and has more recently completed the L7 AI & Data Science Apprenticeship with Cambridge Spark. He is passionate about AI and software engineering and enjoys solving complex problems and learning new things.

Data Analyst Apprentice of the Year

Nominees for the Data Analyst Apprentice of the Year award were evaluated on the same criteria as those for the Artificial Intelligence Apprentice of the Year award above.

Winner: Jamie Kavanagh, Insights Analyst at Oxfordshire County Council

Jamie-Kavanagh-BCS-awards_250x250pxJamie was promoted to Insights Analyst after completing the apprenticeship and now uses his skills to benefit the wider community and the various services the Council offers.

Jamie developed tools to help understand and improve the impact of public service, including aiding EDF energy and Oxfordshire iHub in the analysis of EV charging technology data to allow residents to use their EVs to power their homes, helping with the cost of living crisis.

RITTech Award for Professional Development

Nominees for RITTech Award for Professional Development were chosen and measured by the following criteria:

  • Competence - Examination of the nominee's persistent demonstration of technical prowess and proactive skill enhancement.
  • Contribution - Evaluation of the nominee's effective use of skills to support business services and/or benefit the community.
  • Professional development - Assessment of the nominee's effective application of personal or professional development opportunities in their work.

Winner: Jamie Kavanagh, Oxfordshire County Council

"Being recognised by BCS and RITTech at the ITA Apprentice of the Year Awards has been the crowning achievement of my apprenticeship journey and the highlight of my career so far. Winning in both my categories fills me with immense honour and gratitude, particularly because my contributions were recognised as exceptional among the incredible pool of finalists by the moderators and judges.

"As someone deeply committed to public service, my top priority is ensuring that the communities I serve experience tangible improvements from my work. It's not always the most glamorous or easily quantifiable work, unlike the impressive accomplishments of my fellow finalists, which is why I'm immensely thankful for the recognition of this important aspect of my work and am eager to use my platform to share its significance with the industry.

"I'm also thrilled about becoming a role model for aspiring apprentices. I am so passionate about apprenticeships as an avenue for personal growth, open to individuals of all backgrounds. Going forward, I can't wait to use this same platform to inspire future learners, and to collaborate with organisations such as the BCS and RITTech, apprenticeship providers and career leaders to amplify the visibility and viability of apprenticeships, ensuring they remain a prominent pathway in the professional world." - Jamie Kavanagh, Insights Analyst at Oxfordshire County Council

We’d like to congratulate all of this year’s winners and those nominated for their achievements. It’s been a great honour to support these learners in their upskilling journey and professional development. And we look forward to seeing the continued success of all our Cambridge Spark learners.

Enquire now

Fill out the following form and we’ll contact you within one business day to discuss and answer any questions you have about the programme. We look forward to speaking with you.


Talk to us about our Data & Ai programmes