News - 17 July 2014

House of Lords celebration for star apprentices

Top-performing apprentices have been praised at a prestigious House of Lords reception.

The 27 apprentices were commended at a ‘Celebration of Apprenticeships’ staged by West Nottinghamshire College Group to pay tribute to their hard work and achievements.

They were selected from the college group’s crop of more than 10,400 apprentices in recognition of their talent, dedication and contribution to their workplace.

Held in the historic building’s Cholmondeley Room and Terrace yesterday (Wednesday 16 July, 2014) it saw them presented with engraved glass trophies and certificates by Gordon Birtwistle MP, Government ambassador for apprenticeships, and Sue Husband, director of apprenticeships and delivery service at the Skills Funding Agency.

Other guests included family members of the apprentices, their employers, MPs and members of the House of Lords.

Now in its third year, the event was once again hosted by The Rt Hon Baroness Prashar CBE, a cross-bench peer who has led several public and voluntary organisations. Other speakers included His Excellency Mr Ranjan Mathai, the High Commissioner of India, and Dame Asha Khemka, principal and chief executive of the college group.

Dame Asha said: “It was a privilege to once again celebrate some of our star apprentices in the inspirational surroundings of the House of Lords and formally recognise their individual achievements and contribution to their workplace.

“Apprenticeships make a real difference to individuals, employers and communities. They enable businesses to develop the skilled workforce needed to be successful while also providing young people with high-quality job opportunities.

“The event was also an important opportunity for us to thank their employers for investing in new talent, which is key to a successful apprenticeship system.”

Gordon Birtwistle MP said: “Congratulations to all the apprentices – it’s fantastic to meet so many young people who are achieving amazing things in their lives. The staff who have delivered these courses are clearly very proud of their students and I’m sure the wider college is very proud too.”

The MP, who started out as a craft apprentice in the late 1950s and went on to run his own engineering company, added: “We have seen a real boost in apprenticeships like we used to have when I left school in 1958. We have apprentices from across the board – from manufacturing to finance to local authorities. Let’s hope we can keep this going.”

Sue Husband said: “Being here today is powerful evidence that a whole new generation is seeing apprenticeships as a route to a brighter future. Apprenticeships are at the heart of the government’s drive to equip people of all ages with the skills they need to prosper in their lives and apprenticeships provide the capabilities that employers need to compete in a challenging global marketplace.

“The 27 apprentices that we have met today are part of this skills revolution – a revolution that is now enabling employers to attract and retain the best talent through apprenticeships at higher levels.”

West Nottinghamshire College Group is one of the largest providers of apprenticeships and employer-related training in the country, with 10,417 young people and adults studying their apprenticeship through the college in the last year alone.  

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