Global designers and manufacturers, Panaz, are proving themselves as a true ambassador for apprenticeship learning at all levels.

Not only does the Burnley business take on new cohorts of apprentices regularly, they also encourage and support their existing workforce to undertake apprenticeships from entry level right through to management.

Panaz’s dedication to apprenticeship programmes saw them recently crowned ‘SME Business of the Year’ at Nelson & Colne College Group’s ‘Apprenticeship Awards Event’.

Moreover, one of their apprentices, Rebecca Carrol, was awarded ‘Leadership and Management Apprentice of the Year’ at the same ceremony.

On Rebecca’s accolade, Nicola Boardman, Head of HR at Panaz, said: “Rebecca demonstrated incredible motivation to develop and succeed within her role and rapidly progressed from the Level 3 Team Leader apprenticeship to the Level 5 Operations Manager.  

“Highly self-motivated, Rebecca relishes feedback, using it to develop her practice and provide critically evaluative assignments. She has been a model apprentice.”

The passion Panaz hold for apprenticeships is understandable given the company’s Group Chief Financial Officer, Nadeem Memon, was himself a Nelson & Colne College apprentice in the 1990s.

Speaking about his own experience, Nadeem said: “For the opportunities my apprenticeship has afforded me, I have complete belief in the success of the scheme and where it can take you.

“There’s such a diverse range of apprenticeships on offer now which means there really is something for every talent and interest.

“They also provide a practical hands-on pathway for those who do not wish to go down an academic route.

“Apprenticeships allow us to upskill our existing workforce and bring external knowledge and skills into the businesses in a way that can be practically applied across all departments.”

Though typically thought of as a route specifically aimed at teenagers, Panaz were also keen to reiterate that apprenticeships are open to all age groups.

Nicola added: “We need to challenge the assumption that apprenticeships are just for 16 to 18-year-olds, starting out in the world of work.

“People can complete apprenticeships while at work to boost their careers and access management positions.

“At Panaz, every member of staff has a monthly 1-1 with a manager to discuss their bespoke development plan.

“We look at performance within their existing role and where they see their future. We also provide mentors from other departments so they can get an insight into other areas of the business.

“We find nurturing apprentices to be incredibly rewarding and we actively encourage progression with the business as Rebecca Carrol and many others have experienced here at Panaz.”

If you would like to find out more about the apprenticeships available within the Nelson and Colne College Group, please visit