Mentor of the Year 2022: Lee Coker

Winner - Lee Coker, Whispering Smith

Mentors are instrumental in the success of apprenticeship programmes: Their buy in can turn an Apprenticeship from a 1-year contract to a lifelong career opportunity. The 2022 Mentor of the Year provides an exceptional level of support to the apprentices he manages, guiding them as they take their first steps into the working world, encouraging them to take on additional responsibilities and supporting them through challenges.

We’re delighted to announce our Mentor of the Year Award 2022 is presented to Lee Coker of Whispering Smith.

Nominated by Apprentice, Mason Farrell, Lee has always been a keen advocate of an apprenticeship as a route to a rewarding career: ‘I set out in the early days that if an apprentice works hard, they are highly likely to gain full time employment here as the business is prospering and growing.’ Indeed, one of the apprentices, recruited by Intec, has been promoted to an Assistant Manager position to support Lee. ‘I believe this acts as a great inspiration to apprentices coming into the business. They can see that they can grow and progress.’

Lee provides a constant support for the apprentices he looks after and his nominator, Mason couldn’t agree more: ‘Lee has given me lots of his time, helping train me and it’s the same with all the other apprentices. He timetables out our visits with our Tutor to ensure we have time to complete our apprenticeship and as I’ve grown into the role, Lee has given me more responsibilities, but he always makes himself available to discuss priorities and concerns. He has always encouraged me to push myself and I am now working towards achieving my second qualification, as well as obtaining my forklift truck licence and becoming a qualified first aider.’

Lee really does go above and beyond and recently his actions have helped his team through an incredibly tough situation: ‘We had a colleague who had a heart attack in the workplace and Lee literally saved his life through his efforts. His quick thinking was selfless and quite simply, brilliant. Although he must have been distressed himself, he made sure the whole workforce was ok and helped mentor all of us through an extremely difficult period. From a potentially fatal situation the individual is now back at work.’ Mason Farrell.

‘I have created an open atmosphere that relies on them being able to come to me and discuss anything.’ Lee Coker.

Intec Tutor, John Felton, has seen first-hand the support Lee provides: ‘Every single learner we have placed with Whispering Smith, who has completed their qualification, has been taken on as a permanent member of staff. These individuals have continued to grow and develop their skills. Lee displays integrity, inclusivity and is an excellent role model and his approach of recruiting young talent onto apprenticeships has created a faster, more vibrant, organisation. The business is doing well, and Lee is an obvious factor in that, he has high standards, and our learners see this and work to meet his expectations.’

The supportive approach Lee takes has allowed the apprentices at Whispering Smith to flourish, and we look forward to hearing about more successes from Lee’s growing team.

Congratulation Lee!