WBTC - Rising Stars 2019

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Newbury Business Today

Our Graduates

O n a sunny spring day, apprentices, their employers, family and friends all gathered for the WBTC Apprentice Graduation & Rising Stars Awards 2019. The event on Wednesday May 15 was attended by 200 guests at Arlington Arts Centre near Newbury. ‘This was our fifth event and I think it gets better each year,’ said Matt Garvey the Managing Director of WBTC (pictured left). ‘We had amazing weather, a full house and a celebratory atmosphere that underscores why apprenticeships are so amazing. Our Guest of Honour, Anthony Bravo, the Principal of BCoT and chairman of WBTC, got events

underway with a motivational speech on leadership in the workplace. He reminded us that for many, their apprenticeship is just the first leg of the career journey and many will go on to become managers.’ 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. Proud mum Emma Hardwicke saw her son Alex Painter graduate. She said: ‘What a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, I was a proud mum watching the graduation, both my children have now achieved apprenticeships with great support from WBTC, one in accountancy and one in technical customer service and have excellent career opportunities ahead to them.’ ‘It’s great to be part of the WBTC event again this year with apprenticeships getting the recognition and value they deserve’ said Steve Cooper of Benchmark Furniture WBTC also invested their 2019 Honorary Fellowships of WBTC to Colin Heslop who set up WBTC and served as its chairman for 35 years. He was recognised for his ‘Services to apprentices in West Berkshire’. This is the highest honour that WBTC can award to an individual and it is for life. ‘If it hadn’t been for Colin’s desire to tackle youth unemployment back in 1983 then WBTC would exist,’ added Matt. ‘Through his leadership the charity went from being a small project in the Town Hall to the leading apprenticeship provider in our area. We’ve trained thousands of apprentices in West Berkshire who have gone on to lead fulfilling careers and lives.’ There was also a special recognition for Bayer Plc and James Cowper Kreston who were awarded the WBTC Platinum Award for their consistently excellent apprenticeship programme. Apprentices then formally graduated and were congratulated by Anthony Bravo. 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 graduating. Rising Stars 2019 The graduation ceremony was followed by the Rising Stars Awards 2019, 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 outstanding 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.’

Made with FlippingBook Online newsletter