The Apprentices Graduation is fundamentally about celebrating our apprentices. Read about our previous amazing Apprentice Graduation Ceremonies and download the event brochures.
The 2021 graduation was our biggest ever successfully delivered via the Remo conferencing platform supported by Digital Leaders.
Nearly 300 apprentices, 170+ employers and 18 training providers were involved breaking all records and possibly making it the largest event of its kind in the south-east if not England.
Huge thanks to our dedicated partners and 2021 event sponsors who ensured another free graduation ceremony for all the amazing apprentices that participated.
Thanks to their support our graduates also received an upgraded graduate pack including the new apprentice graduate badge and special commemorative mortar board tassel and 2021 charm, plus a special discounted rate on graduation attire from our partner Graduation Attire.
We look forward to getting back to a face to face graduation ceremony in 2022. If you wish to know more please use the contact form or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details of our sponsorship packages and as to how to register graduates for the ceremony.
The full YouTube version of the 2021 event is available here.
VIDEOS: The videos here feature left to right by row:
Introduction by Nicola Everett, Graduate Roll Set1, Set 2, Set 3 the concluding thank you video with Nicola Everett and the Amazing Apprenticeships video.
Chris Brodie of SELEP Welcome and FSB video with Mike Cherry.
Choosing to do an apprenticeship allowed me to get out of my own comfort zone, allow me to meet new people and learn something new, all the while being able to learn more about myself whilst doing it, being able to push myself further, to continue to grow and be someone who is more confident in myself and the knowledge I have gained from my apprenticeship.
Business & Administration Apprentice Level 2, Medway Council
The Kent & Medway Apprentice Graduation Ceremony 2020 was only the second incarnation of this special event, marking the incredible achievement of the county’s apprentices during 2019-20.
The original intention, as in 2019, was to hold a prestigious ceremony at Rochester Cathedral and celebrate the apprentice graduates with their friends, parents and employers, as well as with VIP guests including dignitaries, key business organisations and education and training provider leaders.
The Covid 19 pandemic almost resulted in the event, like so many others, being cancelled for 2020. However, rather than cancel, the Apprentice Graduation Ceremony Working Group decided that marking apprentices’ achievements and the support of their employers during such a challenging year was more important than ever.
Therefore, organising and delivering a virtual ceremony, which was the first of its kind in England, became the focus of the working group from April. Making it happen involved an enormous amount of work behind the scenes. So whilst the virtual event may not have presented the same variables and stresses as a traditional event, it was still a leap in the dark with a whole new set of risks.
Despite the risks the rewards certainly outweighed them and 125 apprentices, from 21 providers and 54 employers, enjoyed a virtual graduation which was streamed live on 2 October 2020!
A huge thank you to our host Nicola Everett. Nicola has been a part of both Kent and Medway Apprenticeship Graduation Ceremonies. Nicola’s bright personality and confident public speaking brought the Graduation from screen to your front garden during the virtual event.
Many thanks to Gillian Keegan MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, for addressing the Graduate Apprentices and sharing your experience as an apprentice. Your words are inspiring to our current and future apprentices.
A final special thank you to our sponsors, without whom it would not be possible to undertake the Kent & Medway Graduation Ceremony. You can see our full range of sponsors in the event programme and on our partners page.
I would recommend anyone who is thinking about further learning, either after school or sixth form that if they want to learn and get a trade then an apprenticeship is by far the best way to go. Not only do you get all the qualifications needed but you also get to work at the same time and get paid for doing so. It’s a fantastic scheme and I highly recommend anyone to do an apprenticeship.
Rail Traction and Rolling Stock Engineering Apprentice,Southeastern
I’m incredibly proud and honoured to endorse the Kent and Medway Apprentice Graduation Ceremony. Not only to celebrate the amazing achievements of the graduates but also to support and extend huge thanks to the plethora of employers who have taken such positive and innovative steps to embrace the importance of apprenticeships within their employment settings.
Chief Executive, CXK
Well done – a really tight and interesting event – sections were spaced well to allow the reading of names without becoming too repetitive – the talks were very good and Anthony Impey was his usual inspired self! Great exposure for FSB as first logo in the sponsor section. Congratulations to you and all involved!
Director Federation of Small Businesses
Everyone came across really well and so good to acknowledge all the apprentices. Really fab event – leading the way.
South East Local Enterprise Partnership
It looked really slick...the apprentices and presenters came across excellently!
Digital Skills Partnership
South East LEP
As we all know, COVID-19 has affected events across the globe, especially Graduations.
Being an innovative organisation, Graduation Attire couldn’t bear to think that the Class of 2020 were not going to experience the momentous occasion that is Graduation and so they created Graduations.LIVE, a new, intuitive and content-driven celebration platform, allowing students to celebrate digitally and safely.
We built the Graduations.LIVE platform so no achievement would go unmarked and were thrilled bring the virtual graduation to life in 2020 with students being able to create videos and photos to include in the ceremony. This year, we’ll be looking to bring more live elements into the ceremony to make it a truly special event for everyone involved.
Managing Director - Graduation Attire
For more information about the platform and to book a FREE demonstration, go to www.graduations.live
The first-ever Kent & Medway Apprentice Graduation Ceremony took place on the 4th October 2019 at Rochester Cathedral. There were over 600 people in attendance, including 97 graduates, their friends and families as well as 120 distinguished guests. The prestigious event was hosted by Paul Andrews, CEO of Jobs in Kent and Nicola Everett of KMFM and the ceremony celebrated apprentices who had successfully completed their qualification between 1st January 2018 and 31st August 2019.
KATO, together with the event organisers and sponsors, brought this event to life with the aim of celebrating the apprentices’ achievements in the same way as a university graduate is recognised.
Kelly Tolhurst, Conservative Member of Parliament for Rochester & Strood, was a special guest and speaker at the ceremony. She delivered a welcome address and, together with Brian Woods, South East Regional Chair, FSB and Christian Brodie, Chair, South East LEP, hosted a VIP Business Reception.
David Ward, Chief Executive Officer of Ward Security gave an impassioned speech in which he reinforced the importance of investing in training of staff. Ward Securities provides a range of apprenticeships as part of its people strategy and currently employs 22 active apprentices within its business.
The graduation ceremony was the culmination of months of hard work of a dedicated working group who have met frequently over the past 12 months to plan the event down to the smallest detail. The overall aim was to make it a day to remember for all the apprentices, supporters and businesses involved and it we are congratulating ourselves on a great success!
Without our cross-sector working group it would be difficult to deliver such a large event to such a wide audience, in such a prestigious location. We would therefore like to offer our sincere thanks to the representatives from the organisations who helped make it happen.
Sponsoring Employers and Organisations 2019
Careers & Enterprise Company
The Careers & Enterprise Company was established in 2015 to help link schools and colleges to employers & to help them deliver world class careers support for all young people.
“We are delighted to be supporting The Inaugural Kent Apprenticeship Graduation Ceremony as apprenticeships are an excellent route for young people to take after leaving school or college. As an organisation, we are tasked with supporting schools and colleges to deliver world class careers support to young people and help them make the right choices.“
Clarion Futures is the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group, the UK’s largest social landlord. Our mission is to provide people with the tools and opportunities to transform their lives and communities for the better.
“An apprenticeship can be the springboard to an amazing career. Whether it’s your very first experience of being employed or you’re exploring a new career path, an apprenticeship offers a unique opportunity to earn and learn. The tailored programmes available through Clarion Futures not only match the right candidate to the right role, but through our mentoring programme, we have helped 90% of candidates to secure a full-time job once their apprenticeship comes to an end.”
Dom Education Group
Dom Education Group (DOMEG) is a highly regarded business partner of schools, colleges and community groups. As an organisation who provides innovative training programmes to support people of all ages both in education and in the wider community.
“With the right planning and investment at the start apprenticeship routes can be a ’ win-win’ for all involved. By encouraging business and providers to work collaboratively in order to support the individual to succeed and thereby helping to strengthen the labour market, the individual gets a worthwhile and viable alternative option and in turn becomes an economically active member of society.”
The ECITB is the statutory skills body for the engineering construction industry in Great Britain. A non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Education, the ECITB works in partnership with business and government to deliver a diverse and highly skilled workforce that enables industry to compete globally.
“The ECITB is delighted to be sponsoring the launch of this exciting event to support apprenticeships throughout Kent. We wish all the graduates a successful future and progression in whatever industry they have decided to enter.
IPS International/IPS Apprenticeships is a South-East Specialist Apprenticeship training provider and a leading provider of training and consultancy operating across the UK with approximately 67 staff employed.
"The event is a real opportunity to raise awareness of Apprenticeships and their benefit to the economy as well as to the lives of the individual Apprentices. An awards ceremony such as this is an excellent way of recognising, celebrating and publicising this."
The Kent Association of Training Organisations (KATO) represents the major Training Providers in Kent and Medway. It supports the interests of over 65 member organisations who deliver a variety of training programmes, including Apprenticeships, bespoke training and business training.
“Many organisations across the county are employing apprentices,” says Michael Ratcliffe, Director of Kent Association of Training Organisations (KATO). “We want to celebrate the apprentices’ achievement in the same way a University Graduate is celebrated. So we are delighted to recognise the success of our local apprentices.”
Kent County Council
The KCC are one of Kent’s largest employers who employ nearly 30,000 staff across a range of roles across Kent. The council is responsible for public services such as education, transport, strategic planning, emergency services, social services and public safety which affects the daily lives of our residents, visitors, businesses and workers.
“Apprenticeships represent a major opportunity for the County Council to develop talent within our organisation and set young people on course for successful careers. We also have responsibility for ensuring that young people across the County have good destinations after school, and apprenticeships are an important and growing option for them”.
Kent Further Education
KFE colleges provide Level 2 to Higher apprenticeships, to approximately 2,500 young people and adults annually. We are extremely proud of the role apprenticeships play in the technical skills agenda and their contribution to the economy and vitality of the huge number of business we engage with daily.
“Each college has an established history of its own apprenticeships awards, and the Graduation Ceremony supplements these perfectly at a county level, providing a unique opportunity to create a culture of equanimity with other qualifications for the graduates, but also an invaluable platform for the promotion of apprenticeships as a high quality and highly valued solution, for both employers and individuals seeking the best way to develop their skills, careers and employability.”
Lee Construction was formed in 1984 by Lee Higgins. Lee was originally a Carpenter working in London on individual housing developments and then diversified in contracting. Lee Construction was incorporated in 1999 and became known as Lee Construction Ltd. In 2017, Leon Acquisitions was created and carry out small works, buy to let properties and refurbishments. To date, Lee Construction Ltd have a workforce of 95, consisting of 78 male, 3 female carpenters & 14 apprentices.
“From the beginning, Lee Construction Ltd have supported
and believed in training young people in the area of Carpentry,” says Apprenticeship & Partnership Coordinator,
Rebecca Stowell, “The building industry will always need carpenters from small domestic jobs to large housing developments. The recognition of Employers and the young people is a valuable part of the apprentice journey and this event highlights the distance the apprentices have come from being ‘green’ and no experience to being improvers within their chosen industry.”
Leigh Academies Trust
Leigh Academies Trust is a non-profit making charitable company limited by guarantee, based in Strood, Medway. The Trust exists to support and assist schools to build upon their existing strengths and to help them achieve rapid educational transformation. It has significant experience in running schools, and today includes both sponsored academies and schools which have chosen to convert to Academy status.
“Leigh Academies Trust are delighted to sponsor the Apprentice Graduation Ceremony as this event provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate the success of so many.
Apprenticeships are such an important aspect of the work of academies for both students and employees as they provide clear pathways for progression both into the world of work for students and further academic study for our employees.
Apprenticeships are certainly contributing to the LAT mission to shape lives and transform communities”
Medway Council is a unitary authority in the south-east of England. Medway has one of the fastest growing economies in the south-east and is now worth £5.17bn.
Cllr Jane Chitty, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, said: “We are incredibly pleased to be supporting an event which celebrates apprenticeships. We currently employ 56 apprentices and we have a further 100 staff members taking part in apprenticeship programmes for professional development. Being a unitary authority we are able to offer diverse and challenging apprenticeships across a wide range of departments. We understand how important it is to offer another option to young people who may not necessarily wish to go to further their education or go to university or college. We wish all of the apprentices who will be graduating the best of luck for the future.”
NCFE is a national awarding organisation with a strong heritage going back over 170 years. Passionate about designing, developing and certificating diverse, nationally recognised qualifications and awards, NCFE is at the forefront of technical education and has contributed to the success of millions of learners at all levels.
“The new apprenticeship system provides a fantastic opportunity to help shape the education and training landscape for years to come. End-point assessment brings a new way of working for apprenticeships and we’re proud to work alongside some fantastic employers and providers to make a positive difference to thousands of learners.”
“Apprenticeships improve skills, wages, and future career progression of those taking part, which in turn improves local economic growth. With the new apprenticeship scheme now in place, the emphasis is on the employer to invest in high quality training. In our current economy, we need enthusiastic young adults to take on certain responsibilities in the workplace. Some fail to realise that young minds produce creativity and they already have a good foundation of technical knowledge because they have been brought up with it.
The Education People
The Education People work across Kent promoting and raising awareness of the benefits apprenticeships will provide to young people, employers and schools. Working closely with the colleges and training providers to increase the opportunities available.
“The creation of the apprenticeship graduation ceremony provides an opportunity for Apprentices, Employers, Colleges, Schools and Training providers to celebrate the benefits they bring to all parties and showcasing apprenticeships to a wider audience.”
Volker Highways is an integrated highways service provider specialising in highways term maintenance, street lighting and electrical services, surfacing, traffic management and public realm infrastructure projects. VolkerSmart Technologies advises, plans and installs the infrastructure required for Smart Cities. The apprenticeship graduation event is a perfect platform to celebrate the hard work and achievements of the apprentices.
“All of our apprentices have been invaluable to us,” says Project Manager Sohail Hussain. “They have all stayed on beyond their apprenticeships and have developed both personally & professionally. They have bought a fresh approach and positive attitude to the workplace.”
Ward Security provides a full range of security solutions to clients nationwide, employing over 900 people. It is actively involved in encouraging young, returning to work and “career changers” people to consider security as a long-term career and showing them the rewarding opportunities that exist in the industry.
“Nurturing and recognising talent early on is key to finding long term future stars for our business. We know from experience that if we invest in recruiting and training people, we are likely to retain them in the business for many years. By offering a range of apprenticeships we are finding those bright people who are looking to learn but want to work and earn money at the same time, therefore the ethos of “learn as you earn” becomes a reality. As far as I am concerned, apprenticeships is a win-win situation for the people and our business.”
Wire Belt Company Limited started trading in the UK in 1962 and are manufacturers of metal conveyor belting and conveyors. With over 85 years of industry knowledge within the Wire Belt Group, we provide conveyor belts for industries such as food processing, textiles, electronics, agriculture and automotive.
‘Wire Belt have been operating apprenticeship schemes for over 25 years. It is important to us to know we are offering something back to the community, whilst encouraging young people into apprenticeships. We want to celebrate this and highlight the fact that apprenticeships are a great way to build a successful career.’