Rising Stars 2018

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Newbury Business Today


Our Graduates

O n a lovely spring day, apprentices, their employers, family and friends all gathered for the WBTC Apprentice Graduation &

Matt Garvey

Rising Stars Awards 2018. The event on Wednesday 25 April 2018 was attended by 250 guests at Arlington Arts Centre near Newbury. ‘This was our fourth event and I think it just keeps getting better each year,’ said Matt Garvey the Managing Director of WBTC. ‘We had nice weather, a full house and a celebratory atmosphere that underscores why apprenticeships are so amazing. Our Guest of Honour, Mark Dawe, the CEO of the Association of Employment & Learning Providers (AELP), got everyone in the mood with his funny and upbeat Graduate Address. He reminded us that celebrating achievement is all the more sweeter when we remember the challenging times in our studies or career.’ Apprentice graduation ceremonies have become more popular over recent years as a way of formally congratulating apprentices on their years of study and hard work. ‘There was a wide range of apprentices graduating including accounting, business administration, carpentry, customer service, engineering, graphic design, housing, IT/Telecoms, Management and Warehousing,’ added Matt. ‘Our graduates looked pretty amazing in their gowns and were a credit to themselves and their employers. I’m always impressed how apprentices tackle their full time jobs and their stretching studies to become accomplished professionals; it makes me feel optimistic for the future.’ Employers from all over the area gathered with their apprentices or as finalists in their own categories to celebrate all that is good about apprenticeships. Sheena Sukumaran, of Sutherland Health (Small Employer of the Year winner),who won the Workplace Mentor of the Year Award, said: ‘I am absolutely amazed that our company walked away with two awards and the way the ceremony was organised in such a professional manner. Thank you WBTC, for the recognition and for putting on a wonderful ceremony for those young folk that have worked hard to achieve standards and giving them the opportunity to shine and be proud of what they have achieved in front of family/friends/employers – it was outstanding.’ WBTC also invested their 2018 Honorary Fellowships of WBTC to Kelvin Hughes, the CEO of Newbury Community Resource Centre, for his ‘Services to Young Adults. This is the highest honour that WBTC can award to an individual and it is for life. ‘Kelvin has made a positive and sustained impact on the lives of many young people in our area,’ added Matt. ‘Through his leadership of the Newbury Community Resource Centre he has offered life changing work experience opportunities to individuals who really needed a friendly and supportive environment. At WBTC we have seen first-hand just how conscientious Kelvin and his team are with some of our most disadvantaged residents.’ There was also a special recognition for Sovereign Housing association, who were awarded the WBTC Platinum Award for their consistently excellent apprenticeship programme. The award was presented by Mark Dawe to Corinna Grace and Steph Akerman who have led the association’s apprenticeship drive. Apprentices then formally graduated and were congratulated by Mark Dawe. As well as different occupational sectors, apprentices came from a diverse range of backgrounds demonstrating the egalitarian spirit of the apprenticeship programme. There were also a substantial number of adult apprentices and learners graduating. Rising Stars 2018 The graduation ceremony was followed by the Rising Stars Awards 2018, a showcase of local employers and individuals who had been nominated for their excellence. With eight categories this was an opportunity for outstanding role models to shine. There were three finalists in each category, each chosen by a panel of judges. ‘The Rising Stars finalists were all quite inspirational,’ said Matt. ‘Winners are a closely guarded secret so not even I know who they are until the event itself. Nominations championed the ways employers had gone out the extra mile to support apprentices or extolled the care and attention exhibited by mentors. We had most nominations for the learner categories with some amazing testimonials on our apprentices and Great Start students. Judges assessed nominations on an anonymised basis and focused on the story. Consequently, the finalists were of a very high standard.’ Sponsors & Supporters Along with the eight award category sponsors, the event was supported by The Englefield Trust, the awarding body Pearson, Apple Print & Creative and Nustream. ‘I’m deeply grateful to the sponsors and supporters whose generosity made this event possible,’ said Matt. ‘They played a key role in celebrating the great work that goes on in our local business community when it comes to apprenticeships and learning. Hayley Evans whose son Nathan graduated said ‘ I was so proud watching my son graduate and get to celebrate his achievements along with everyone else, and I was proud of them too! What a lovely thing to do to let everyone know that their achievements matter and they should all be proud! On a personal note I want to thank WBTC for not only finding my son, Nathan Evans, his apprenticeship, but also for all the continued support he gets from you by way of visits and training days. We heard about the WBTC recruitment day which Nathan attended, and the apprenticeship opportunities just kept coming! In the end he was offered two and had a choice to make! He loves what he does and hopefully he‘ll make a long career out of it.’ Finalists all received a medal and winners were awarded their coveted trophy. In the individual learner categories the winners also received £100 with the other finalists awarded prizes of £25 each. ‘I know that people often say everyone deserves to win,’ added Matt, ‘but in this case I feel it’s true. The nominations were of such high quality that judges had a hard time deciding on the eventual winners. In my eyes, each finalist is a true rising star with an exciting future ahead.’

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