Sixteen top-performing apprentices from Nottinghamshire have been praised at a prestigious House of Lords reception.
They were amongst 30 commended at a ‘Celebration of Apprenticeships’ staged by West Nottinghamshire College Group to recognise the hard work and commitment of apprentices and their employers.
Held in the historic building’s Cholmondeley Room, it saw them presented with glass trophies and certificates by Andrew Jones MP, Apprenticeships Ambassador in Parliament, and Richard Marsh, director of employer engagement at the National Apprenticeship Service.
They were selected from the college’s crop of 12,000 apprentices across the country in recognition of their talent, dedication and contribution to their workplace; with the 30 drawn from the college and its subsidiary companies Vision Apprentices and Vision Workforce Skills.
Now in its second year, the event was held to coincide with the national VQ Day celebrations of those who gain vocational qualifications. It was hosted by cross-bench peer Baroness Prashar CBE and guest speaker was Skills Minister Matthew Hancock MP.
Mr Hancock said: “The apprenticeship system is vital for making sure we have the skills as a nation to compete on the global stage, so it’s great to have the opportunity to recognise the hard work that young people put into their apprenticeships and congratulate them on their success.”
Describing the college’s contribution to apprenticeships as “impressive”, Mr Hancock said this was due to a successful track record of working with SMEs and major companies.
Asha Khemka OBE, principal and chief executive of West Nottinghamshire College Group, said: “It was a very special day and a truly fitting venue to acknowledge the outstanding contribution our apprentices make to their workplace and to say thank you to their employers for giving them the opportunity to shine.
“Not only are apprenticeships a route to business success and economic growth, they play an important role in youth engagement and social mobility by preparing young people for the world of work.”
Andrew Jones MP said: “The stories we heard about each individual winner was truly inspiring and an indication of the enormous amount of work and creativity taking place across many different sectors, which is a tribute to all the individuals concerned as well as the college.”
Richard Marsh said: “I’m always thrilled when I get the opportunity to meet apprentices and their employers and hear how they’re reaping the benefits of apprenticeships. It’s clear all the apprentices receiving awards are not only building a bright future for themselves but are also making a real and measurable impact on the businesses they work for.”
Guests at the ceremony included transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP, Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero, Sherwood MP Mark Spencer and senior figures from the further education and skills sector, along with employers and family members of the apprentices.
West Nottinghamshire College Group is one of the largest providers of employer-related training in the country. Around half of its 12,000 apprentices are recruited directly by their employer and attend the college on day-release as part of their learning, while Vision Apprentices has found jobs for more than 2,000 young people through an apprenticeship since its launch in 2010.
Earlier this year, the college group assumed responsibility for an additional 4,000 apprentices when it took over most of the vocational training carried out by the former Pearson in Practice, following parent company Pearson Plc’s decision to exit the business.
It saw the college launch Vision Workforce Skills, which delivers industry-specific apprenticeships and work-based programmes to employers across the country, primarily in professional and business services, IT, and creative and digital media.