Apprentices, employers, family and friends celebrated National Apprenticeship Week 2017 at WCG’s Apprenticeship Graduation and Celebration of Awards ceremony at Old Shire Hall, Warwick on Thursday 9 March.
The apprentices were celebrating completing a range of apprenticeships from engineering and social media to horticulture and welding at businesses large and small, local and national.
The ceremony began with a drinks reception at the Grade 1 listed Old Shire Hall before guest of honour, Chris White MP, gave a keynote speech. The apprentices then took to the stage to receive their official scrolls from WCG Group Principal and CEO, Angela Joyce. Awards were also made to Outstanding Apprentices in three industry sectors.
- Colin Hankinson, Apprentice in Engineering Maintenance for DHL Supply Chain won the award for Outstanding Apprentice in Engineering and Construction
- Adam Barnes, Apprentice in Production Horticulture at Cotswold Garden Flowers won the award for Outstanding Apprentice in Land-based Industries
- Ella Jackson, Apprentice in Business Administration at Robert Welch won the award for Outstanding Apprentice in Service Industries
Angela Joyce, Group Principal and CEO of WCG said, “Tonight is an opportunity for us to recognise and reward apprentices in the same way as those who have studied for a degree, so it was wonderful to see family, friends and employers coming together to celebrate the apprentices’ achievements.
“As the largest college provider of apprenticeships in the West Midlands, with over 2500 apprentices training with us every year, we are already looking forward to the next ceremony in September. Congratulations to all of the apprentices who were recognised tonight – we wish them all the very best for the future and continued success in their careers.”
Mark Treadwell, 21 from Stratford-upon-Avon, was one of the apprentices graduating, and also stepped in to organise the event when a colleague was taken ill. Mark completed his Level 3 Apprenticeship in Social Media, before securing a role as Event and Marketing Assistant at WCG. He said, “It’s been a really busy week making sure everything was in place for the event, but it all went really well on the night. I hope all the apprentices enjoyed the ceremony and are proud of their achievements. By doing an apprenticeship I think we have all set ourselves up for a positive future career path.”
Adam Barnes, 27 from Worcester was celebrating graduating from his apprenticeship in production horticulture with Cotswold Garden Flowers and also won the Outstanding Apprentice Award for Land-based Industries. He said, “Getting the award was a massive surprise, but really nice! I started on the more traditional route, with A-levels and university, but it wasn’t really for me so I went travelling for a few months to figure out what I wanted to do. When I got back I looked around at apprenticeships, found Pershore College and they put me in touch with Cotswold Garden Flowers.
“The best thing about apprenticeships is that you’re learning on the job and you’re with people who have years of experience in the industry around you, so if you have any problems or questions they’re there to help. If someone’s thinking of an apprenticeship and it’s the career path you want to go down, then I’d definitely recommend it.”
Ella Jackson, 20, from Stratford-upon-Avon won the Service Industries Outstanding Apprentice Award. She completed her Level 2 Apprenticeship in Business Administration with Robert Welch Design in Chipping Campden. She said, “I didn’t expect to win at all – it was a really good surprise! I’ve always worked, even while I was studying, so I knew I liked hands on experience which meant an apprenticeship was right for me, rather than university.
“One of the best things about doing the apprenticeship is becoming part of a team. I didn’t expect to build such strong relationships so soon, but I’ve really enjoyed being part of the team and I feel really valued as an employee.
“I think apprenticeships are a good choice – you get the hands-on experience, you get paid and there are opportunities to progress onwards. I’m continuing with a level 3 apprenticeship and hoping to go further with the company’s support. I was the company’s first ever apprentice and now they’re planning to take on another one so I’m really keen to get involved and perhaps be a mentor for the new apprentice.”
Chris White MP was the guest speaker at the event. He said, “I was pleased to join the ceremony at WCG and to congratulate all those apprentices that had graduated. I pay tribute to everyone at the college for their hard work in providing first-class courses in a variety of areas. I will continue to support such a fantastic institution and wish all those that have completed an apprenticeship every success in their future roles. They can be justifiably proud of their achievement.”