OXFORDSHIRE carers won a Blue Peter badge – of sorts – at a national awards ceremony.

Oxfordshire County Council’s health and social care team won the best employer support for apprenticeships award at the Skills for Care Accolade ceremony on March 27.

The team is the only one to win the award twice, having won the same accolade back in 2009.

Former Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton presented the award.

Accessing social care careers manager Helen Hannay said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have won this prestigious award. Our philosophy is to create opportunities for young people by bridging the gap between education and employment and supporting them gain the skills needed to build successful careers in a growing sector.

“Our apprenticeship scheme is proving to be a real success and our apprentices bring real value to the social care workforce.”

The award recognises employers that have shown a “strong investment” in apprentices and the positive impact they have in the sector.

The Health and Social Care apprenticeship scheme has been running since 2006 and has employed 136 apprentices.

It is designed to promote social care as a career of choice, with strong support structures in place for the young people involved and excellent links with care providers, schools and colleges.

Maisie McNay, who recently completed her apprenticeship, said: “I have grown so much as a person and also gained lots of skills which will help me throughout my life.”