Apprentices from all over West Sussex gathered in their gowns and mortarboards on Tuesday for their graduation.
It was only the second ever graduation in West Sussex for advanced and higher apprentices.
Around 65 graduates attended the ceremony at Chichester Cathedral which was held during National Apprenticeship Week which is in its 10th year.
Stephen Hillier, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life, said: “I am always amazed to see the incredible range of qualifications that people can gain through doing an apprenticeship. At this year’s graduation they ranged from social care and business innovation to upholstery and electro-technical systems.
“Last year the Coast to Capital region, which West Sussex is part of, saw one of the biggest increases in people taking up apprentices in the whole country. But we won’t become complacent. Apprenticeships offer a fabulous opportunity to earn and learn so we are hoping to see this figure increase further in the coming years.”
At the graduation ceremony, the apprentices, whose training took between 12 months and four years to complete, were awarded a ceremonial pin and a certificate.
Clare Tivey, from Ford, was one of the apprentices to graduate. She took her management apprenticeship when she was Personal Assistant to the Chief Fire Officer and, just one year after she completed her qualification, she was promoted to Personal Assistant to the County Council’s Leader.
Mother-of-two Clare, who completed a Level Three in Management at Chichester College, said: “At the time I was 31 and had a three-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl. I was lucky enough to be put forward for suggested career development and I embraced it fully.
“I had excellent support from the council and the college. It gave me a lot more confidence and I was able to apply those skills when I was applying for promotion.
“I would encourage any working mum out there – don’t put things like this off, really go for. It is hard work but you definitely get out what you put in. I have been very, very lucky to have had the opportunity.”
The graduation event was organised by West Sussex County Council and the Federation of Small Businesses with support from District and Borough Councils and local apprenticeship training providers.
From April, West Sussex County Council will be increasing the amount of apprenticeships across its organisation as a result of government changes. The new rules around apprenticeships are being redefined, providing positive opportunities to develop the skills of the county’s workforce.
To find out more about apprenticeships visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/apprenticeships.