Hundreds of apprentices are being urged to register by the end of January to attend the 2017 graduation ceremony at Chichester Cathedral.
Countless inspirational stories were told last year at West Sussex’s first ever graduation ceremony for apprentices and, this year, it is hoped more people will turn out to celebrate their accomplishments.
Registration has opened for the celebrations on 7 March and is open to anyone working in a West Sussex business that completed an Advanced or Higher/degree apprenticeship during 2016.
More than 400 people completed Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships in the county in 2016 in sectors including social care, estate agency, web development and everything in between.
Stephen Hillier, County Council Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life, said: “Last year’s graduation was such a momentous occasion as so many attended the ceremony and nearly everyone had used their apprenticeships to move forward with their careers.
“I hope the number of apprenticeships in West Sussex continues to grow. The young people in our county have an incredibly diverse range of talents and I hope that many look to apprenticeships as the start of a bright and exciting future.”
Aaron Gumbrell is one example of how apprenticeships can be life-changing. Aaron, 27, from Pulborough, was put off the idea of university due to the cost attached so, instead, he decided to pursue an apprenticeship.
Aaron started with a Level 2 apprenticeship in Business Administration at the County Council and graduated with his Level 5 qualification in Human Resource Management (HRM) last year. But there is no stopping him as he is now in his second year at Portsmouth University undertaking Level 7 in HRM.
“I wanted to start a career with room for progression. One of the main things, for me, is the level of support you get from your colleagues, everybody is happy to help and pass on their experience. It’s also great to learn at college and then have an instant opportunity to put that into practice at work."
Aaron was one of the 62 apprenticeship graduates who attended last year’s event and was awarded a ceremonial pin and a certificate.
“I found the ceremony inspirational and a great occasion to mark what I have achieved in my career to date,” said Aaron.