WCG hosts first ever apprenticeship graduation ceremony

16.12.2016 Apprentices, employers, family and friends celebrated at WCG’s first ever Apprenticeship Graduation and Celebration of Awards ceremony at Old Shire Hall, Warwick on Wednesday 8 December.

Apprentice group

The apprentices were celebrating completing a range of apprenticeships from dental nursing to bricklaying, farriery to engineering at businesses large and small, local and national.

The ceremony began with a drinks reception at the Grade 1 listed Old Shire Hall before guest of honour, Duncan Midwood, gave a keynote speech. Duncan is Managing Director of CEWE Ltd, Europe's foremost digital printing and finishing company whose UK operation is based in Warwick.

The apprentices then took to the stage to receive their official scrolls from WCG Group Principal and CEO, Angela Joyce. Awards were also made to Outstanding Apprentices in three industry sectors.

- Ben Lamb won the award for Outstanding Apprentice in Engineering and Construction

- Daniel Paré won the award for Outstanding Apprentice in Service Industries

- Declan Emmerson won the award for Outstanding Apprentice in Land-based Industries

Outstanding apprentices 2016

Angela Joyce, Group Principal and CEO of WCG said, “We are extremely proud to be the largest college provider of apprenticeships in the Midlands, with over 2000 apprentices training with us every year and tonight has been the culmination of our long-held ambition to recognise and reward apprentices in the same way as those who have studied for a degree.

“It was wonderful to see so many family, friends and employers supporting the apprentices tonight, and we have had lots of positive feedback. We will be holding apprenticeship graduations every six months to ensure all our apprentices can graduate. We are already looking forward to the next ceremony in March, during National Apprenticeship Week.

“Congratulations to all of the apprentices who were recognised tonight, we are extremely proud of them and wish them the very best for the future.”

Duncan Midwood told of his career journey from starting out as a trainee through to his current role as Managing Director of a company employing apprentices. He said, “For me as an employer, apprentices are a cost-effective way to bring great talent into an organisation and for the apprentices, it’s a fantastic foundation for a very successful career.

“It was a real honour and privilege to be part of the ceremony. All of the apprentices should feel very proud of what they have achieved as well as optimistic and confident for the future.”

Harpreet Kaur Hundal, 19, was celebrating graduating from her apprenticeship in dental nursing with Bridge Dental Practice in Leamington. She is now a dental nurse with the practice and said, “I’d always wanted to get into dentistry or medicine, and saw the apprenticeship route as a great alternative way of getting there. I’m now fully qualified dental nurse and in the future I’m looking at doing more training and taking a degree in Dental Hygiene and Therapy.”

Dental nurse apprentices


Ben Lamb, 25, completed his engineering apprenticeship at Jaguar Land Rover and won the Outstanding Apprentice Award for engineering and construction. He said, “I had a brief experience at university but decided it wasn’t fulfilling what I wanted to do educationally and professionally so looked into opportunities that offered higher education and found the Jaguar Land Rover apprenticeship scheme.

“I think ceremonies like this tonight are very important to recognise apprenticeships - as their value is becoming greater to employers.

“I feel very privileged to receive the award tonight - I wasn’t expecting it at all!”

Neil Lamb, Ben’s dad, attended his event and is a former apprentice himself. He said, “When Ben decided that he was going to do the apprenticeship, I knew that it was a good route to take - it’s good grounding and a great way to learn and get experience behind you and I was very encouraged by that.

“I think this ceremony is very important. In the current climate, everyone is encouraged down the academia route, but it’s good to talk about apprenticeships and show the world there are actually a few more routes available.

“I was extremely proud and surprised when Ben won the award, but it’s thoroughly deserved.”

Ben Lamb group

Daniel Paré, 20, from Warwick won the Service Industries Outstanding Apprentice Award. He completed his apprenticeship with the Warwickshire County Council’s Public Health team, before securing a permanent role. He said, “I did well at school but I didn’t feel that A-levels or university were the right path for me, that’s why I chose to do the apprenticeship and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

“I think it’s absolutely fantastic that tonight we’re celebrating everyone who has chosen to do an apprenticeship. It gives people recognition for their achievement and their development and also recognition to the companies who are investing in apprenticeships. Hopefully it will give other people faith in choosing an apprenticeship.

“I can’t believe I won the award - it’s absolutely amazing!”

Daniel’s dad George Paré attended the ceremony, saying, ”Daniel did really well at school but decided sixth form wasn’t for him so we took some careers advice and found out about the apprenticeship scheme.

“He’s really confident now and I think that’s down to being in a real workplace, having a real job.

“It’s always nice to see your children get recognised for the effort they’ve put in. It’s a great setting and it’s fantastic to see the recognition they’ve received tonight - we’re incredibly proud.”

Daniel Pare group

Declan Emmerson, 25, was winner of the Land-based Industry Outstanding Apprentice Award, travelled from Sussex for the ceremony. He said, “I started off wanting to be a blacksmith, but I love horses and working outdoors so decided to do the farriery apprenticeship. I’m not hugely academic, I struggled a bit at school but practically I’m very capable, so in doing an apprenticeship I was able to do what I loved, but also get the academic qualification alongside. It was brilliant to receive the award - that’s definitely one for the mantelpiece!”

“I’m running my own farriery business now and want to continue to build that up and eventually take on my own apprentice.”

WCG offers a wide range of apprenticeships in a variety of industries. For more information, click here or call 0300 456 0046