At a gala evening in Eastbourne, an audience of hundreds celebrated the hard work and dedication of the latest group of apprentices from East Sussex (pictured). The event for the ‘class of 2019’ took place at the new Welcome Building in Devonshire Park, an impressive conferencing facility that houses two exhibition halls and numerous spacious meeting rooms.
John Young, who runs his own media company, opened proceedings, which included an introductory video from Hastings and Rye MP, Amber Rudd. The 2019 graduands were presented with their certificates by East Sussex County Council Cabinet member for the economy, Rupert Simmons. Half way through the evening John Young met and chatted with Emma Hawking, East Sussex and Kent Chair of the Young Apprentice Ambassador Network about her experiences as an apprentice. Emma is a higher laboratory scientist apprentice, working towards a foundation degree in chemical sciences through the University of Kent.
Unique to this Apprentice Graduation ceremony, a number of awards were presented on the evening including: Amazing Colleague and Best Progression. FSB sponsored the award for the Best Overall Contribution to business which was presented by Mike Cherry, FSB’s National Chairman. Mike’ speech delivered an uplifting finale to the show, where he said that FSB supports Apprenticeships as a vital pipeline of talent to smaller businesses. He explained how he judged and arrived at his decision, with the Award going to Emily Wright, who is studying Management level 3 at East Sussex College in Hastings. She works with Locate East Sussex. With over 90% of businesses in East Sussex being smaller businesses, the efforts made by the employers of apprentices, working alongside training providers, was applauded.
This year, FSB has supported Apprentice Graduation ceremonies across the south east: in addition to East Sussex, in West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, Kent and Surrey. Clive Soper, South East Policy lead, who was also at the East Sussex Apprenticeship evening, said, “this is a brilliant and co-ordinated effort by FSB to lobby for and get behind Apprenticeship Graduation events. We must continue to show apprenticeships are a credible and popular career option for people, from all walks of life, to build a successful future.”