Axminster Tools were the proud recipients of the award for Top Employer in the retail category at the School Leaver Awards 2020. We beat off some big competition in the form of DFS, Harrods and Specsavers. Axminster Tools were also ranked 54th in the Top 150 Employers above huge organisations like John Lewis, Coca Cola and British Airways. A great achievement for a family run company based in a rural corner of East Devon. 

The School Leaver Awards

The School Leaver Awards celebrate the top employers and training providers for school leavers on apprenticeship programmes. Judges use the opinions of apprentices and school leaver trainees from 150 UK organisations to pick the winners. Most importantly, the aim of the awards is to raise the standard and understanding of what apprenticeships can do for individuals and also for employers. Axminster Tools vowed to help spread the message by sharing our successes. We are extremely proud of our apprenticeship programme; it's a great way to nurture talent. We hope that by winning this award, other potential apprentice employers will see just how much we value our school leavers and future talent.

Apprenticeships at Axminster Tools

We challenge our apprentices every day, working with highly skilled people who pass on their knowledge and expertise. It's a real job with real responsibilities and we're delighted with what our apprentices achieve. As a result, many of our former apprentices are at the top of their game, in highly skilled positions. 

Lydia Burrough, Accounts Apprentice since September 2015 completed her AAT Level 4 in 2019. Upon completing her qualification, Lydia was nominated in recognition of outstanding performance in accountancy at the Apprenticeship & Employer Awards 2020. When asked about her experience she said:

“I didn’t want to go to university, so the apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to learn as I earned, and improve my work skills. I really enjoyed it and I can see my career path developing, especially with the mentoring and support I am given here.”

Top Employers at School Leavers Awards - Lydia Burrough

Since our apprenticeship scheme began in 2006, Axminster Tools have recruited 27 apprentices; 24 of whom have completed their apprenticeship and continued within the company. Jane Boulton, HR Director at Axminster Tools said

"To be recognised as the top apprentice employer in retail is a real honour. As a company we have seen huge benefits from our apprenticeship scheme; we love to nurture potential. To help people take their raw talent much further, to grow, develop and learn all the things they need to become an invaluable part of a team".

For more information on apprenticeships with Axminster Tools go to