Success celebrated at the inaugural Kent and Medway Apprentice Graduation Ceremony

Leigh Academies Trust was delighted to be part of an extensive team responsible for the inaugural Kent and Medway Apprentice Graduation Ceremony. Hosted at the iconic Rochester Cathedral, the event took place on Friday, 4th October.

Over 100 apprentices graduated on the day in sight of their families, friends and their employers and 120 VIP guests attended the reception as well as the ceremony.

The organising committee (and the main funders of the event) were:

Medway Council
The Education People
Wire Belt
Leigh Academies Trust
However, the significance and support of the other valued sponsors cannot be underestimated.

These were:

Clarion Futures
Dom Education Group
IPS International
Lee Construction
The Pawle Group
Volker Highways
Ward Securities

The media partner was the Kent Messenger Media Group and event company, Evexio. Many of the event staff on the day were current hospitality students from North Kent College.

Additionally, the VIP drinks reception, held in the beautiful crypt, was sponsored and hosted by the FSB with Chapple Down adding their sponsorship of Champagne.

VIP guests included Neil Willis, LAT COO, Sharon Waterman, LAT Director of Education, Steve Leahey, Principal of The Leigh UTC, James Devine, CEO Kent and Medway NHS Foundation Trust, Matthew Scott, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner and Elizabeth Flegg of the South East Apprenticeship Ambassador Network to name but a few.

The VIP reception speakers were:

Brian Woods, SE Regional Chair, FSB

Kelly Tolhurst, MP for Rochester and Strood and Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility

Christian Brodie, Chair, SE Local Enterprise Partnership

A packed cathedral

Rochester and Strood M.P, Kelly Tolhurst with FSB South East Regional Chair, Brian Woods

Nominations for graduating apprentices (at any level) were on the basis that either the apprentice and/or the apprenticeship provider must be based in Kent and Medway and have completed their qualification between January 2018 and 31st August 2019. All applications were independently verified via employers and providers. The window for next year will follow on from this and will be 1st September 2019- 31st August 2020

Designed to celebrate apprenticeships across the County of Kent and the Unitary body of Medway, the event was greeted with great excitement by apprentices, businesses and providers alike.

Following on from the VIP reception came the ceremony itself and this was co-hosted by Paul Andrews, CEO Jobs in Kent and Nicola Everett of KMFM

Main event speakers were:

Welcome- Kelly Tolhurst MP

David Ward, CEO of Ward Securities with one of their apprentices, Panashe

Tauren Corsinie- Community Manager, ZC Social Media and graduating apprentice

Speaker, David Ward commented

“I was delighted to be invited to speak at the Kent & Medway Apprentice Graduation Ceremony on Friday at Rochester Cathedral, but more so I was honoured to be in the company of so many amazing people who had clearly worked hard to achieve their qualifications.

Going to University is an amazing opportunity, but apprenticeships are a credible alternative that should also be considered. What could be better than learning on the job whilst getting paid, not leaving university with a massive debt and ending up with a degree equivalent qualification.

A special well done also to our very own member of staff Panashe who kindly spoke about his own experiences as an Apprentice at Ward Security

Again many congratulations to all those who collected their certificates on Friday.”

Amongst those graduating was Robbie Boorer who undertook his apprenticeship training at The Leigh UTC

Steve Leahey, Principal of The Leigh UTC stated:

“The Leigh UTC is extremely proud in its delivery of apprenticeships, having only just embarked on this programme 3 years ago it was very satisfying to see one of our very first apprentices graduate at Rochester Cathedral with Distinctions at Level 4 in Manufacturing Engineering. Well done Robbie and his employers Boddingtons- a great reason why apprenticeships work.”

Steve Leahey with apprentice graduate, Robbie

Leigh Academies Trust looks forward to many more of its own apprentices taking part in such events as our own apprenticeship programmes increase.

Sharon Waterman, Leigh Academies Trust Education Director, commented:

“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”

Huge congratulations to all involved- and especially the graduating apprentices!

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