Advanced and Higher Apprentices from across the Liverpool City Region attended the UK’s biggest apprentice graduation last week to formally recognise and celebrate their achievements.
The high-profile event at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on July 30, saw around 1,000 apprentices and their friends, family and employers attend an official graduation organised by the Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Hub.
The ceremony recognised apprentices who achieved Advanced or Higher level apprenticeships in the period from 1 May 2014 to 1May 2015.
Councilllor Nick Small, Assistant Mayor of Liverpool and Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills said, “I was really pleased to attend these graduation ceremonies. It’s right that we should all celebrate the achievement of our 1,000 higher and advanced level apprenticeships with the families and friends. Each and every apprentice graduating should be proud of what they’ve achieved – they’ve earned a very valuable qualification while they were working. The City Council aims to increase the number of people doing higher and advanced apprenticeships over the next few years and will work with the City Region Employment and Skills Board and Apprenticeship Hub to achieve this.”
Speakers on the day included entrepreneur and star of BBC’s The Apprentice, Neil Clough, who reached the semi-finals of the show in 2013. He said: “Apprenticeships are massively beneficial, not only to the apprentices who are learning skills and earning while they learn, but also for what they bring to the economy, by getting more people into business and helping businesses to thrive and succeed, which is why it’s so important to recognise this achievement with events like this graduation ceremony.”
Stephen Roberts, General Manager of Crowne Plaza and member of the city region’s Employment & Skills Board said: “It is the Government’s ambition, and mine, for it to become the norm for young people to achieve their career goals by going into an Apprenticeship or to University or, in the case of some Higher Apprenticeships, doing both, and for there to be two routes to success that are equally recognised as stretching, challenging and rewarding.”
The Apprenticeship graduation ceremony is part of a nationwide campaign to give apprentices the same recognition that university students receive upon the completion of a degree.
It has also helped to raise awareness of the great employment opportunities available to young people from the six Liverpool City Region boroughs, Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Wirral, who choose the apprenticeship route.
This is the second time the event has taken place, following the huge success of the inaugural celebration last year.
Almost 10,000 learners started a Higher Apprenticeship in England during 2012/13, with key employers including Jaguar Land Rover, Barclays, Ford and BT offering apprenticeships. When combined, an Advanced Apprenticeship is equivalent to 2 A level passes and higher Apprenticeships from levels 4, 5, 6 or 7 form the equivalent of Foundation degree level right up to Masters Level.