A special ‘graduation’ ceremony for the county’s apprentices will take place later this year.

The first Kent Apprentice Graduation will take place at Rochester Cathedral on Friday, October 4, with businesses and apprentices invited to attend.

More than 600 people are expected to celebrate the role of apprentices and recognise the apprentices’ achievement – akin to that of a university graduate.

Small business minister and Rochester MP Kelly Tolhurst is expected to be among those attending.

It is being organised by a number of organisations across Kent and Medway, among them: Careers and Enterprise Company, The Education People, The Education and Skills Funding Agency, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Leigh Academies Trust, Kent Association of Training Organisations, Kent Further Education, Kent County Council and Medway Council.

Paul Andrews, CEO of Jobs in Kent and Nicola Everett of radio station kmfm will co-host the awards ceremony.

Paul Winter, chair of Sittingbourne firm Wire Belt, and a project team member, said; “Apprentices can be such a positive addition to many businesses. We want to celebrate this and highlight the fact that learning on the job is a great way to build a successful career in a local company.”

Alison Parmar, FSB development manager, added: “Neighbouring counties have been celebrating the success of apprentices for some time through a graduation ceremony like this. We are really pleased to be working together to be able to invite businesses and apprentices to this new event. It is going to showcase the breadth of companies who already hire apprentices, and surely encourage other firms to do the same.”

Patrick Cantellow, an apprentice in digital marketing, says: “My plan was to go to university and become a geography teacher, however, an apprenticeship in digital marketing gave me the taste for the workplace in an exciting sector. Thanks to an apprenticeship, I’ve a new car and I’m about to rent my own flat, I’ve only just turned 20.

“My school friends say I ‘dropped out’, but in fact, I think I took a couple of steps ahead of them, and now they’re the ones playing catch up. Having an apprentice graduation ceremony is a great way to show this success.”

The awards’ celebration is specifically for apprentices who have successfully completed their qualification between January 1 2018 and August 31 2019.

Each apprentice will be able to invite their employer and family to share the occasion. The afternoon will include a full graduation ceremony with graduate gowning and photography, as well as a VIP business reception in the cathedral crypt.

Applicants can be nominated by their employer, apprenticeship provider or can self-refer. Applications will be verified and places are available on a first come, first served basis. When nominations are made its essential that all parties involved, apprentice, employer and provider are informed.

Source www.kentonline.co.uk