An aspiring manager has scooped the title of apprentice of the year in Coventry-based Whitefriars Housing Group’s ninth apprentice award scheme.

Amy Lyden, from Wyken, claimed the top spot in recognition of her outstanding work towards her business and administration apprenticeship and the extra help given to colleagues.

Amy, one of 16 apprentices employed by the affordable housing provider, joined the scheme in August 2010 and has already achieved her NVQ level two and is on the way towards achieving level three.

She said: “It was a big shock to win, it is the first time I’ve won anything. My mum and dad were there right at the front to watch me get the award, they are so proud. It has made me much more confident.

“I really enjoy the job and would love to work for the company when I qualify. I want to go on to do my level four NVQ in management next, and aim as high as I can.

"The apprenticeship gives me the chance to gain the practical experience you need now to get employment, as well as the qualifications for my CV. I get to experience all parts of the business and work with people I like. It really has been the best option for me and my career.”

Her line manager at Whitefriars, Gordon Jones, said: “I am delighted that Amy won the award. She is a very worthy winner; her performance is terrific, she has a lovely personality and gets on well with everyone.

"What more could a manager want? I wish Amy every success for the future – I’m sure she will continue to excel.”

The 19-year-old received her award from the Lord Mayor of Coventry Coun Mulhall and chair of Whitefriars Mick Rawson. Also on hand to witness her success were staff and their families, at an awards evening held at the housing association’s Little Park Street office.

Seventeen-year-old Adele Hargrave and Esme Jewkes, aged 19, were named as runners-up.

The most recent government figures showed almost 1.2 million people aged 16 to 24 in the UK are classed as “NEET” – not in education, employment or training. This represents 19.2 per cent of all people within this age group.

The Whitefriars apprentice scheme, which has been running for ten years, has seen 135 young people go through on-the-job training.

As a result the housing association has employed 74 of those and the other 19 people have found employment elsewhere. During 2011, five apprentices were taken on as employees.

Simon Wright, group head of organisational development for WM Housing, of which Whitefriars Housing is a part of, said: “It is vital that we continue to play a role in developing the talent of Coventry’s young people.

“The success of these three young people proves the worth of apprenticeship schemes and, with National Apprentice Week coming up next week, we would urge others to consider such initiatives – it really is a cost effective investment and a win-win opportunity.”