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Annual apprenticeship graduation to take place at The Hawth

West Sussex County Council will be hosting its fourth annual apprenticeship graduation ceremony on 20 May at The Hawth, Crawley.

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The ceremony is open to all West Sussex residents who have completed their Higher/Degree and Advanced Apprenticeship from 1 January 2018 to 28 February 2019.

TV newsreader and journalist John Young will be opening and compering the event.

John said:

“I’m delighted to be invited back to host a second awards ceremony for West Sussex apprentices. We need a wide range of talent to enter the workforce and if the apprentices I met last year are anything to go by we’re in good hands.”

Graduates will celebrate their hard work and achievements with a traditional ceremony and can invite two guests. Light refreshments will be served during the registration and robing and each graduand will receive a certificate and commemorative pin to mark their success.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is hosting a business networking reception for apprenticeship employers and training providers to attend before joining the main ceremony.

The ceremony on 20 May is from 3pm-4.30pm. Attendance for you and two guests is free of charge, but registration is essential and must be done by 24 April. To find out more and book your place go to www.westsussex.gov.uk/graduation

Business

Did Crawley Council Leader really tell worried business owners ‘we’ll let the court decide’ over rent hikes?

It has become one of the hot topics of the year, the 30% rent increase for businesses on Tilgate Parade. But has an open letter from a councillor revealed more than just a heated debate.

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Take a walk through any part of Crawley where there are shops. How many of them are the same ones that were there just a few years ago?

In-fact if you walk through the town centre then you are almost going on a walk of memory as you pass empty units or one of the too-many-to-count coffee shops.

Parades so far have faired a little better with most retaining their stores but for how much longer?

Rules set out that rents for businesses must be set at a certain percentage of the value of the property, we will gloss over the fact that councils do have options in which they can reduce this as this has been spoken about at length before.

So a 30% rent hike, whilst shocking, is not surprising as prices increase over the years.

Tilgate Parade where rents are to increase by 30%.

But now an open letter by Tilgate Councillor Francis Guidera has potentially revealed just how much tension there really is between the business owners and the council.

In the letter (which you can read here) Mr Guidera talks about a discussion held after a recent Full Council meeting where eight Tilgate Parade business owners were ‘confronted’ by the Council Leader.

According to Mr Guidera’s letter, Council Leader Peter Lamb ‘demanded’ to know why the council should ‘subsidise’ profit making businesses.

Now heated words between disgruntled residents, business owners and opposing councillors are nothing new but according to Mr Guidera the parting words from the Council Leader appear to show that tensions are at breaking point.

“We’ll let the court decide” – these are the final words, according to Mr Guidera, that Peter Lamb used to the Crawley business owners as the conversation/debate/argument (use what you will because it is not clear what it was) came to a conclusion.

The whole country is on a political see-saw with every party taking any opportunity it can to score points from the other so letters like this can be seen to be just that, another point scoring opportunity – BUT – ‘if’ what Mr Guidera saying is right then it does beg the question of whether the council is really understanding the true concerns of the very people it represents.

CN24 approached Mr Lamb for comment but at time of publishing had not received a response.

There are rules, regulations, legislation to follow but there are also opportunities open to councils to make a difference and to help those it works hard to convince it wants to help. So why such defiance?

The see-saw has dropped on one side now, let’s see what comes out to make it tip the other way?

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