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Top CEO’s who started their careers as an Apprentice

Details: Written by Eleanor Lodge |

As we celebrate The Annual Apprenticeship Conference this week, lets take a look at some top CEO’s who started out as an apprentice…

  • Jamie Oliver (Famous Chef)

  • Famous chef and founder of the Jamie Oliver Group, Jamie began his successful catering career with an NVQ apprenticeship in Home Economics. After leaving school at age 16 with just two GCSEs in Art and Geology, Jamie’s apprenticeship gave him the skills to develop into apprenticeships at different London restaurants where he mastered his craft before finally airing his first cooking show ‘The Naked Chef” in 1999. Over the next 20 years, alongside TV shows, books and national health campaigns, Jamie has become one of the most successful TV chefs in the country.

  • Stewart Wingate (CEO, London Gatwick Airport)

  • Stewart Wingate is the now CEO of Gatwick Airport, having spent 12 successful years in the role. But this high-flying business man started his career in a very different role, as an apprentice at the toolmaker Black & Decker.

    After proving his capabilities through his apprenticeship, Stewart was granted a bursary from the company to attend university where he achieved a first class honours degree in electrical and electronic engineering. Stewart then spent the next 15 years working at his sponsor company Black and Decker before first joining BAA Airports in a senior management role and then finally landing his role as CEO at London Gatwick Airport in 2009.

  • Andy Palmer (Former CEO, Aston Martin)

  • Andy Palmer, founder and CEO of Palmer Automotive and former CEO of Aston Martin, began his inspiring career at age 16 as a technical apprentice for UK Automotive Produce, a business manufacturing brakes and clutches for cars. Over the next six years Andy would complete his apprenticeship and land his first managerial role at age 22!

    He then moved to Nissan and worked his way through various management positions before moving to Aston Marin in 2014, where he spent nearly six years as president and CEO, successfully reversing the decline in sales of the vehicles in his first year. The powerhouse went on to successfully return the company to profit within three years, for the first time since 2010 as well as launching four car models.

    Throughout his impressive career Andy continued to study and across 40 years achieved a Master’s in product engineering and a PhD in engineering!

Will your recruits be the next apprentice turned CEO? Find out today with Apprenticeship programmes from The Skills Network!