A business apprentice at Stevenage-based company MBDA has been recognised as a “Rising Star” by the Make UK National Manufacturing Awards.

Libby Blencowe won ‘Business Apprentice: Rising Star’ at a gala awards ceremony in London at the end of January.

Libby made it to the national finals by winning at the Midlands and East regional awards in late 2022.

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Remembering how she felt when she heard her name announced as the national winner, Libby said: “I was absolutely elated but so nervous to get up and deliver an acceptance speech. But it all went smoothly and I was almost moved to tears with excitement!”

The award recognises business or commercial apprentices in the early years of their apprenticeship programme - working within an engineering/manufacturing firm - who have done the most to seize the training and development opportunities presented to them in their apprenticeship.

To win her award, Libby demonstrated her significant contribution to supporting the business activities of MBDA and showed great potential for the remainder of her programme.

Libby impressed the judges by describing her lead in a project redesigning a supply chain contract that spanned four countries and required great negotiation and resolution skills.

Upon accepting her award, Libby said: “It’s tricky to pick the proudest moment of my apprenticeship as there are so many, but this is probably going to be added to the list!”

For the help she has received throughout her apprenticeship, Libby thanked the MBDA Early Careers HR team, as well as all of her managers, for their support singling one out in particular, adding: “I’d also like to give a special shout-out to Martin who was my manager in one of my placements and who has since become been an outstanding mentor, thank you so, so, so much for supporting me.”

Libby has now moved into the final year of her four-year degree apprenticeship and is looking forward to graduating and taking up a full-time senior role in procurement.

She continued: “I’ve been inspired by the award winners we’ve had previously, and I hope I can be an inspiration too. I also want to be supportive to other apprentices as my career progresses, repaying the support I have received as an apprentice myself.”

Andrew Marchant, HR Manager for MBDA’s graduate and apprenticeship programmes, said: “Libby’s win is a testament to her hard work and dedication to develop herself to be the best she can be.

"It’s also a great reflection of the support Libby, and all or other apprentices, receive from managers and teams around them whilst on an MBDA UK Apprenticeship Programme.”