19 March 2015

Today at the Albert Hall 400 people from across Nottinghamshire will gather to celebrate the achievements of 150 of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire’s Higher and Advanced apprentices. The Graduation Ceremony is part of an England wide programme to recognise and reward the success of apprentices and will highlight the quality of Apprenticeships as well as the progression opportunities available to former apprentices.

The Graduation provides a real opportunity to engage the wider community, creating a feeling of pride among the apprentice’s family and friends, as well as reaching out to new audiences. The hope is that the Graduation will help engage employers and young people who may not have considered an Apprenticeship in the past, highlighting their quality and value.

Paul Eeles, Chief Executive of ABC Awards, said: “Apprenticeships are key to the success of our local businesses and the economy. Employers need to be encouraged to recruit more apprentices at all levels, especially those in the 16 to 18-year-old age bracket. I believe that the Apprenticeship route could potentially become a powerful tool in helping to tackle the youth unemployment problem and provide an alternative route to higher education and employment in the East Midlands.

“Nottingham and Nottinghamshire should be very proud of every single apprentice who has completed an advanced or higher Apprenticeship. It is important that their success is rewarded to encourage others to aspire to greater things, and that is the hope of this Graduation Ceremony.”

Graduation Ceremonies were first piloted with two events in York (November 2012) and Nottingham (January 2013) and followed-up in 2013-14 with trailblazer events around England ahead of the national roll in 2014-15.

Karen Riley, Deputy Director – Central Employer and Delivery Services Team, Skills Funding Agency, said: “We are delighted to lend our support to this event which celebrates the success of apprentices across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. The Apprenticeship Graduation Ceremony provides a platform to engage with the unengaged employers who do not currently employ apprentices and those potential apprentices who are considering an Apprenticeship.’

During the Graduation apprentices and guests will also hear from Jade Etherington, Britain’s most successful winter Paralympian, who took home three silvers and a bronze medal at Sochi 2014. The Graduation is being led by the EMFEC Group in partnership with Nottingham City Council; the East Midlands Chamber; Futures Limited and Nottinghamshire Training Network.