Kent & Medway Apprentice Graduation Ceremony 2019
The first-ever Kent & Medway Apprentice Graduation Ceremony took place on the 4th October 2019 at Rochester Cathedral. There were over 600 people in attendance, including 97 graduates, their friends and families as well as 120 distinguished guests. The prestigious event was hosted by Paul Andrews, CEO of Jobs in Kent and Nicola Everett of KMFM and the ceremony celebrated apprentices who had successfully completed their qualification between 1st January 2018 and 31st August 2019.
KATO, together with the event organisers and sponsors, brought this event to life with the aim of celebrating the apprentices’ achievements in the same way as a university graduate is recognised.
Kelly Tolhurst, Conservative Member of Parliament for Rochester & Strood, was a special guest and speaker at the ceremony. She delivered a welcome address and, together with Brian Woods, South East Regional Chair, FSB and Christian Brodie, Chair, South East LEP, hosted a VIP Business Reception.
David Ward, Chief Executive Officer of Ward Security gave an impassioned speech in which he reinforced the importance of investing in training of staff. Ward Securities provides a range of apprenticeships as part of its people strategy and currently employs 22 active apprentices within its business.
The graduation ceremony was the culmination of months of hard work of a dedicated working group who have met frequently over the past 12 months to plan the event down to the smallest detail. The overall aim was to make it a day to remember for all the apprentices, supporters and businesses involved and it we are congratulating ourselves on a great success!
Without our cross-sector working group it would be difficult to deliver such a large event to such a wide audience, in such a prestigious location. We would therefore like to offer our sincere thanks to the representatives from the following organisations who have helped make it happen:
Our Partners and Sponsors
Careers & Enterprise Company
The Careers & Enterprise Company was established in 2015 to help link schools and colleges to employers & to help them deliver world class careers support for all young people.
“We are delighted to be supporting The Inaugural Kent Apprenticeship Graduation Ceremony as apprenticeships are an excellent route for young people to take after leaving school or college. As an organisation, we are tasked with supporting schools and colleges to deliver world class careers support to young people and help them make the right choices.“
Clarion Futures is the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group, the UK’s largest social landlord. Our mission is to provide people with the tools and opportunities to transform their lives and communities for the better.
“An apprenticeship can be the springboard to an amazing career. Whether it’s your very first experience of being employed or you’re exploring a new career path, an apprenticeship offers a unique opportunity to earn and learn. The tailored programmes available through Clarion Futures not only match the right candidate to the right role, but through our mentoring programme, we have helped 90% of candidates to secure a full-time job once their apprenticeship comes to an end.”
Dom Education Group
Dom Education Group (DOMEG) is a highly regarded business partner of schools, colleges and community groups. As an organisation who provides innovative training programmes to support people of all ages both in education and in the wider community.
“With the right planning and investment at the start apprenticeship routes can be a ’ win-win’ for all involved. By encouraging business and providers to work collaboratively in order to support the individual to succeed and thereby helping to strengthen the labour market, the individual gets a worthwhile and viable alternative option and in turn becomes an economically active member of society.”
The ECITB is the statutory skills body for the engineering construction industry in Great Britain. A non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Education, the ECITB works in partnership with business and government to deliver a diverse and highly skilled workforce that enables industry to compete globally.
“The ECITB is delighted to be sponsoring the launch of this exciting event to support apprenticeships throughout Kent. We wish all the graduates a successful future and progression in whatever industry they have decided to enter.
IPS International/IPS Apprenticeships is a South-East Specialist Apprenticeship training provider and a leading provider of training and consultancy operating across the UK with approximately 67 staff employed.
‘The event is a real opportunity to raise awareness of Apprenticeships and their benefit to the economy as well as to the lives of the individual Apprentices. An awards ceremony such as this is an excellent way of recognising, celebrating and publicising this.’
The Kent Association of Training Organisations (KATO) represents the major Training Providers in Kent and Medway. It supports the interests of over 65 member organisations who deliver a variety of training programmes, including Apprenticeships, bespoke training and business training.
“Many organisations across the county are employing apprentices,” says Michael Ratcliffe, Director of Kent Association of Training Organisations (KATO). “We want to celebrate the apprentices’ achievement in the same way a University Graduate is celebrated. So we are delighted to recognise the success of our local apprentices.”
Kent County Council
The KCC are one of Kent’s largest employers who employ nearly 30,000 staff across a range of roles across Kent. The council is responsible for public services such as education, transport, strategic planning, emergency services, social services and public safety which affects the daily lives of our residents, visitors, businesses and workers.
“Apprenticeships represent a major opportunity for the County Council to develop talent within our organisation and set young people on course for successful careers. We also have responsibility for ensuring that young people across the County have good destinations after school, and apprenticeships are an important and growing option for them”.
Kent Further Education
KFE colleges provide Level 2 to Higher apprenticeships, to approximately 2,500 young people and adults annually. We are extremely proud of the role apprenticeships play in the technical skills agenda and their contribution to the economy and vitality of the huge number of business we engage with daily.
“Each college has an established history of its own apprenticeships awards, and the Graduation Ceremony supplements these perfectly at a county level, providing a unique opportunity to create a culture of equanimity with other qualifications for the graduates, but also an invaluable platform for the promotion of apprenticeships as a high quality and highly valued solution, for both employers and individuals seeking the best way to develop their skills, careers and employability.”
Lee Construction was formed in 1984 by Lee Higgins. Lee was originally a Carpenter working in London on individual housing developments and then diversified in contracting. Lee Construction was incorporated in 1999 and became known as Lee Construction Ltd. In 2017, Leon Acquisitions was created and carry out small works, buy to let properties and refurbishments. To date, Lee Construction Ltd have a workforce of 95, consisting of 78 male, 3 female carpenters & 14 apprentices.
“From the beginning, Lee Construction Ltd have supported
and believed in training young people in the area of Carpentry,” says Apprenticeship & Partnership Coordinator,
Rebecca Stowell, “The building industry will always need carpenters from small domestic jobs to large housing developments. The recognition of Employers and the young people is a valuable part of the apprentice journey and this event highlights the distance the apprentices have come from being ‘green’ and no experience to being improvers within their chosen industry.”
Leigh Academies Trust
Leigh Academies Trust is a non-profit making charitable company limited by guarantee, based in Strood, Medway. The Trust exists to support and assist schools to build upon their existing strengths and to help them achieve rapid educational transformation. It has significant experience in running schools, and today includes both sponsored academies and schools which have chosen to convert to Academy status.
“Leigh Academies Trust are delighted to sponsor the Apprentice Graduation Ceremony as this event provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate the success of so many.
Apprenticeships are such an important aspect of the work of academies for both students and employees as they provide clear pathways for progression both into the world of work for students and further academic study for our employees.
Apprenticeships are certainly contributing to the LAT mission to shape lives and transform communities”
Cllr Jane Chitty, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, said: “We are incredibly pleased to be supporting an event which celebrates apprenticeships. We currently employ 56 apprentices and we have a further 100 staff members taking part in apprenticeship programmes for professional development. Being a unitary authority we are able to offer diverse and challenging apprenticeships across a wide range of departments. We understand how important it is to offer another option to young people who may not necessarily wish to go to further their education or go to university or college. We wish all of the apprentices who will be graduating the best of luck for the future.”
NCFE is a national awarding organisation with a strong heritage going back over 170 years. Passionate about designing, developing and certificating diverse, nationally recognised qualifications and awards, NCFE is at the forefront of technical education and has contributed to the success of millions of learners at all levels.
“The new apprenticeship system provides a fantastic opportunity to help shape the education and training landscape for years to come. End-point assessment brings a new way of working for apprenticeships and we’re proud to work alongside some fantastic employers and providers to make a positive difference to thousands of learners.”
“Apprenticeships improve skills, wages, and future career progression of those taking part, which in turn improves local economic growth. With the new
apprenticeship scheme now in place, the emphasis is on the employer to invest in high quality training. In our current economy, we need enthusiastic young adults to take on certain responsibilities in the workplace. Some fail to realise that young minds produce creativity and they already have a good foundation of technical knowledge because they have been brought up with it.
The Education People
The Education People work across Kent promoting and raising awareness of the benefits apprenticeships will provide to young people, employers and schools. Working closely with the colleges and training providers to increase the opportunities available.
“The creation of the apprenticeship graduation ceremony provides an opportunity for Apprentices, Employers, Colleges, Schools and Training providers to celebrate the benefits they bring to all parties and showcasing apprenticeships to a wider audience.”
Volker Highways is an integrated highways service provider specialising in highways term maintenance, street lighting and electrical services, surfacing, traffic management and public realm infrastructure projects. VolkerSmart Technologies advises, plans and installs the infrastructure required for Smart Cities. The apprenticeship graduation event is a perfect platform to celebrate the hard work and achievements of the apprentices.
“All of our apprentices have been invaluable to us,” says Project Manager Sohail Hussain. “They have all stayed on beyond their apprenticeships and have developed both personally & professionally. They have bought a fresh approach and positive attitude to the workplace.”
Ward Security provides a full range of security solutions to clients nationwide, employing over 900 people. It is actively involved in encouraging young, returning to work and “career changers” people to consider security as a long-term career and showing them the rewarding opportunities that exist in the industry.
“Nurturing and recognising talent early on is key to finding long term future stars for our business. We know from experience that if we invest in recruiting and training people, we are likely to retain them in the business for many years. By offering a range of apprenticeships we are finding those bright people who are looking to learn but want to work and earn money at the same time, therefore the ethos of “learn as you earn” becomes a reality. As far as I am concerned, apprenticeships is a win-win situation for the people and our business.”
Wire Belt Company Limited started trading in the UK in 1962 and are manufacturers of metal conveyor belting and conveyors. With over 85 years of industry knowledge within the Wire Belt Group, we provide conveyor belts for industries such as food processing, textiles, electronics, agriculture and automotive.
‘Wire Belt have been operating apprenticeship schemes for over 25 years. It is important to us to know we are offering something back to the community, whilst encouraging young people into apprenticeships. We want to celebrate this and highlight the fact that apprenticeships are a great way to build a successful career.’
“I never thought I would be able to graduate as I decided to take the apprenticeship route rather than progressing onto university. I am so grateful to KATO Network who hosted an apprenticeship graduation ceremony, as myself and many others finally got to have their graduation cap and gown moment. It is nice to see that people are starting to recognise apprentices hard work and I hope that this event continues to take place every year, so more people can celebrate on their academic achievements”.