West Nottinghamshire College students receive certificates of achievement

Twelve former West Nottinghamshire College apprentices have been presented with certificates of achievement from Britain’s most successful winter Paralympian, Jade Etherington, at a glittering graduation event.

Paul Bonsall, Gillian Cassettari, Beth Colley, James Davies, Hayley Greatorex, Grazyna Kedra, Frances Mayes, Jasmine Olphert, Michelle Potts, Sarah Schofield, George Taylor and Kerry McAlees, who all completed their apprenticeships last year, were among 150 former higher and advanced apprentices from across the county to be honoured at the 2015 Nottinghamshire Apprenticeship Graduation Ceremony.

The event, held last Friday (20 March, 2015) at Nottingham’s Albert Hall, was attended by more than 400 people including graduates, their guests, employers and training providers. It was part of an England-wide programme of graduation ceremonies aimed at recognising and rewarding the success of apprentices while also highlighting progression opportunities available to those who follow this career path.

Visually-impaired former alpine skier Jade, who took home three silvers and a bronze at the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, and Councillor Nick McDonald, cabinet member for jobs and growth at Nottingham City Council, were guest speakers at the event.

Attending to congratulate the apprentices in person were the college’s director of business development and employer engagement, Sacha McCarthy, and head of employer engagement, Faye Boucher.

Mrs McCarthy said: “It was wonderful to see some of our former higher and advanced apprentices take to the stage in front of their family, friends and employers and be formally congratulated on their success. The college has a proud track record in delivering apprenticeships on behalf of employers and events such as these provide a really important opportunity to celebrate the achievements of those who follow this career path.

“Apprenticeships are a fantastic stepping stone to a rewarding job and, increasingly, progression to higher education. Furthermore, they equip employers with the highly-skilled employees they need to grow their business, so their contribution to the country’s economy cannot be estimated.”

The Nottinghamshire graduation was staged by further education membership body the EMFEC Group – which provides services to colleges and training providers across the East Midlands – in partnership with Nottingham City Council, the East Midlands Chamber, Futures Limited and Nottinghamshire Training Network.

Paul Eeles, chief executive of EMFEC Group, said: “Nottingham and Nottinghamshire should be very proud of every single apprentice who has completed an advanced or higher apprenticeship. It is important that their success is rewarded to encourage others to aspire to greater things.”

Pictured with medal-winning Paralympian Jade Etherington (centre) are four of the college’s graduating apprentices (from left) Beth Colley, 21, from Hucknall; James Davies, 34, from Warsop; Sarah Schofield, 23, from Skegby, Sutton-in-Ashfield; and Frances Mayes, 33, from Mansfield.

Beth, who works as office manager at Right Track Social Enterprise, Nottingham, completed the Level 3 AAT accounting diploma while James, customer service manager at Mansfield Woodhouse firm Visucomm Ltd, gained the Level 3 customer service diploma. Sarah, an administrator at Mansfield company Jephsons Shopfitters, completed the Level 3 business and administration diploma, and Frances, a technical support assistant at Mansfield District Council, achieved the Level 3 customer service diploma.