More than 120 successful apprentices from across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire will be celebrating their achievements at a special graduation event on July 19.
Apprentices will receive a certificate and celebrate with their families, friends and employers over afternoon tea at the Apprenticeship Graduation Ceremony at Stafford’s County Showground on Wednesday July 19 at 2pm.
This is the third year that Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire has staged a graduation ceremony. The two previous events were attended by a total of 280 apprentices, who had achieved qualifications ranging from Level 3 to Level 6, equivalent to degree standard.
The event is sponsored by local businesses KMF Metals and Leoni Wiring Systems, along with Newcastle-under-Lyme College, Staffordshire University, Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
The firms and organisations celebrating with their successful apprentices range from world-famous businesses such as JCB, GE, Vodafone and Portmeirion to Stafford’s Katharine House Hospice and Newcastle-under-Lyme’s Hempstalls Primary School
This July’s event will be introduced by David Frost CBE, chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and the guest speakers will be Staffordshire University vice chancellor Professor Liz Barnes and Darryl Eyers, Staffordshire County Council’s director for economy, infrastructure and skills.
David Frost commented: “Encouraging people to take up apprenticeships is a key part of our strategy to bring more and better jobs, economic growth and prosperity to our region. The apprenticeships system gives local businesses a great opportunity to grow their own talented and skilled workforce by providing training tailored to their needs.
“It is right to celebrate the hard work and achievements of our apprentices and the contribution they are making to local businesses and communities with this special event.
“The graduation ceremony is also a great showcase to raise the profile of apprenticeships and the career paths that they can open up for people in all walks of life.”
Cllr Abi Brown, cabinet member for finance and partnerships at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity for young people to get themselves on the career ladder. We see investment in apprenticeship programmes as both a great way of supporting the local community and growing our future talent, and that is why we currently have more than 50 apprentices working across various services at the city council. We find that their enthusiasm and new, fresh ideas have a positive impact on existing teams and services.
“Stoke-on-Trent has a higher than national average of young people employed as apprentices. There are just under 500 young people aged 16 and 17 in apprenticeships in the city, which shows the popularity of this career option among young people and local businesses.”
Cllr Philip White, cabinet support member for learning and employability at Staffordshire County Council said: “It’s great to be able to celebrate and recognise such huge young talent here in the county.
“Not only do apprenticeships offer a route into a great career option for our young people, they also give employers the opportunity to grow and develop their own talented and skilled workforce. Apprenticeships continue to be key to our plans to bring growth and prosperity to Staffordshire and it’s great to see the number of apprenticeships continuing to grow, especially higher level apprenticeships.”
More specialised and highly-skilled apprenticeships are being offered each year, giving individuals the chance to continue their professional development and fully realise their potential, up to Higher Apprenticeships. These are available at a range of levels, from the equivalent of a foundation degree to a bachelor’s degree and even master’s degree level in some sectors.
This year’s graduation is open to Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire apprentices who have successfully completed a level of their training since June 2016.