On Tuesday 7th March as the Chair of West Sussex Youth Cabinet I was lucky enough to be invited to travel to Edes House in Chichester to attend the apprenticeship graduation ceremony of apprentices in West Sussex. With the number of students applying for apprenticeships in West Sussex having increased in the last couple years I was really intrigued to go and find out why for myself.
As we left the Novium Centre and walked out into the night I was honoured to lead the procession to Chichester Cathedral, as I walked it struck me just how great the line of people really was, whether they be graduates, employers or supporters I felt proud to sit among them to congratulate and appreciate the achievements that the graduates had accomplished. During the speeches, it was easy to see why there was such great support. Among the advocates for apprenticeships were Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, Kevin Emmett, managing director of URT Ltd, Stephen Oates, Chichester District Council, Ann Swain, Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses and although Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham was not able to attend he sent his congratulations. Many of the speakers said the same thing; graduates having gained and developed practical skills during their apprenticeships can carry these over to the workplace making them more capable and experienced workers, learning first hand in a proper business environment helps to bridge the gap between education and work.
I was mainly surprised at the sheer number of apprenticeships that were on offer and was amazed to see the large number of businesses that offered them. From apprenticeships in professional cookery to electrotechnical systems and equipment, from human resources to plumbing and heating there was a great range of apprenticeship from all kinds of different job areas.
This way of practical education is an incredible alternative to university and the debate as to whether which pathway is best suited to them has been an issue that plagues young people coming to the end of sixth form today as well as their teachers. However, for these graduates the idea of learn while you earn is best.
It is so important to me that all young people in West Sussex feel like they are going down the most suited route of education for their future and I hope that support grows even further for apprentices and apprenticeships in West Sussex in the future. I congratulate all graduates and I hope that they are successful in their pursuits and I hope that the successful stories of past apprentices inspires you to do great things.
Written by: Katherine Broadhurst, Chair of West Sussex Youth Cabinet
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