‘Pool Of Champions’ apprentice crowned Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Apprentice of the Year

Farzana Saddiq, a team leader apprentice with GLL at the London Aquatics Centre, took home the coveted Apprentice of the Year award at the fourth Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Apprenticeship Awards ceremony held at Here East on Wednesday 5 July, 2017.

The annual awards recognise and celebrate the role of local young people and employers in delivering the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. More than 240 apprentices have played key roles in the new chapter of the Park, including engineers and surveyors that helped transform the former Olympic Stadium into a world-class, multi-use venue, operatives at Chobham Manor (the first of five new neighbourhoods), landscapers that maintain the 560 acres of parklands, and exciting digital media technician roles in east London’s new digital quarter, Here East.

A range of park-based employers have been championing apprenticeships, providing young people the opportunity to gain new skills and essential workplace experience and giving them the perfect start to their careers. Apprenticeships on the Park have provided a springboard to future careers with a number of former apprentices having secured jobs in the hospitality, construction and digital industries.



Farzana Saddiq, Apprentice of the Year Award, said: “I'm completely blown away to win this award. The opportunities with GLL have been amazing and I'm so excited to see what the future will bring now. Everyone's been brilliant, but I would especially like to thank my managers Elaine and Monique.”

Paul Brickell, London Legacy Development Corporation, said, “This year’s awards have recognised a particularly outstanding group of young people and employers. It shows how creating opportunities for young people and working with employers to address skills gaps is at the heart of what we’re delivering on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Now, as the Park moves into its next phase of development, there are exciting opportunities for all in a range of careers, from engineering, the digital and creative industries and leisure through to construction and the built environment."

Peter Bundey, Deputy Managing Director at GLL said: “Everyone at the London Aquatics Centre and across GLL is delighted for Farzana - we are proud of what she has achieved in a short space of time.

“Farzana’s passion for our values and the way she embraces all GLL’s career development opportunities make her an exemplar to colleagues.

“The Apprenticeship Awards also recognise her commitment to our customers and the ‘can do’ attitude which has helped us become the UK’s largest leisure charitable social enterprise.”

Prior to joining GLL, Farzana worked in high street retail as a Visual Merchandiser. She had previously attended college but despite wishing to progress onto university needed to move into paid employment to support her family.

Farzana became aware of an opportunity with GLL, at the London Aquatics Centre, with a friend recommending GLL as a good organisation to work for. Staying in customer service in a different sector, coupled with the training and career opportunities GLL could offer her, appealed to Farzana's desire to learn and progress.

Farzana has excelled during her time at the London Aquatics Centre and continues to commit to the service and success of the venue on a daily basis.

GLL's Jalbby Johnson, Recreation Assistant at London Aquatics Centre, was named Apprentice of the Year runner up at the awards.

GLL gained six nominations for the awards with three members of staff shortlisted as finalists: 

  • Abdullahi Sufi, Customer Service Advisor at London Aquatics Centre
  • Farzana Saddiq, Customer Service Advisor and Sales Advisor at London Aquatics Centre
  • Jalbby Johnson, Recreation Assistant at London Aquatics Centre

 Here is the full list of winners:

  • Apprentice of the Year: Farzana Saddiq (GLL)
  • Runners Up, Apprentice of the Year: Cassie Dowling (BT Sport), and Jalbby Johnson (GLL)
  • Mentor of the Year Award: Chris James (Idverde)
  • Employer Award for Commitment to Equalities and Inclusion: Unity Kitchen at Timber Lodge
  • Employer of the Year Award: Taylor Wimpey
  • Making It Happen Partnership of the Year Award: Sadler’s Wells
  • Individual Achievement Award: Paula Denise Vaz Cudna (Engie)
  • Special Commendation- Individual Achievement Award: Liam French (PHD Access) and Latoya Matthews (Unity Kitchen at Timber Lodge)
  • Best Work Placement/Intern: Jade Leatham (Sadler's Wells)
  • Ambassador of the Year award: Jone Da Cruz