Leading bed manufacturer Silentnight has beaten off stiff competition from entrants across the North West to win the Large Employer category at the National Apprenticeship Awards 2015.

The regional win means the bedmaker will automatically be entered into the national awards that will take place in January 2016.

The Lancashire-based company has offered engineering-based apprenticeships for over a decade. However, since 2011 this approach has been expanded to other parts of the business including junior management, customer service and logistics.

All Silentnight apprentices are guaranteed full time, permanent employment upon successful completion of the two year course.

There are currently 19 apprentices across the business, with four more being recruited before the end of 2015. Currently, 16 full time members of staff in the company are graduates of the award-winning apprenticeship scheme.

Silentnight also chairs the furniture industry’s Trailblazer, which is a government-backed group of employers that is re-writing the apprenticeship standards for the whole industry.

The awards, now in their 12th year, are run by the National Apprenticeship Service and recognise excellence in two areas – businesses that grow their own talent with apprentices and apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.

Michael Dingwall, manufacturing manager at Silentnight says: “Here at Silentnight we really do pride ourselves on training our apprentices, having been offering apprenticeships for over 10 years. We understand the importance of investing in our people and the work we are doing with a wide range of other organisations via the Trailblazer means that the value of apprentices in our industry will continue to grow.

“Our continued hard work to improve the furniture industry’s apprenticeship scheme is testament to our ongoing commitment to keeping quality at the forefront across all areas of the business.”

Silentnight competed against some of the region’s biggest organisations to be crowned winner. This included businesses of between 250 and 4,999 employees from across Merseyside, Cumbria and Lancashire.

Sue Husband, director of the National Apprenticeship Service, says: “Apprenticeships deliver for businesses, individuals and the economy. The National Apprenticeship Awards enable talented apprentices and committed employers to receive the recognition they richly deserve. They not only help celebrate the achievements of apprentices and businesses, allowing them to gain the credit for investing in their own futures, but they drive up quality and encourage others to get involved."