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West Sussex apprentices celebrate graduation at The Hawth

West Sussex apprentices celebrated their achievements at a graduation ceremony at The Hawth, Crawley on Monday.

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A total of 65 graduates attended the ceremony with local employers, training providers, friends and family members. This year’s apprenticeships ranged from social care, management and engineering.

Speakers at the ceremony included Paul Wagstaff, West Sussex County Council’s Director of Education and Skills, Jim Cunliffe, Sussex Area Leader of the Federation of Small Businesses, Steve Pullen, Varian’s Senior Manufacturing Manager and Holly Jade-Ryder, Mid-Sussex District Council’s Business Development Officer.  

Richard Burrett, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said:

“I would like to offer my congratulations to the apprentices who graduated at the ceremony this year and to the family and friends who joined them.

“I would also like to thank the employers who attended and who have supported these apprentices through their training. 

“Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for people to learn whilst working in their chosen field and we hope to see more people becoming apprentices in the future.”


Among those at the ceremony was Beth Reeves who graduated as an Advanced Apprentice in Engineering Manufacture (Engineering Maintenance) and works at Roche Diagnostics Ltd in Burgess Hill. As a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Ambassador, she has now moved on to a Higher Apprenticeship qualification in Engineering.

She said:

“It was great to see so many different industries and employers celebrating and promoting apprenticeships across the county. Graduating from education whilst in full time employment has had its challenges but today has made me feel proud of how far I have come. I got that feeling of achievement from everyone in the room today.”

Jim Cunliffe, FSB’s Sussex Area Leader said:

“My firm employs apprentices and this is something I am very committed to. It is important we recruit, train and employ people, especially young people, using apprenticeships. This ensures a pipeline of talent to our smaller, local businesses and supports our economy.

“Events like the one today brilliantly raise awareness of what can be achieved through an apprenticeship. I wish every one of the Apprentice Graduates success in their chosen career.”    

The graduation event has been running for four years and is organised by West Sussex County Council and the Federation of Small Businesses.

Coronavirus

West Sussex refuses to support Crawley schools decision of NOT fining parents for keeping children absent

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September seems to creeping ever closer and with it comes the supposed return to school for children across the town.

But with the news that parents ‘must’ send their children back to school come the start of the new school year, also came the news that one head in paticular had gone on record to say he would not fine any parent who kept their child at home.

Head of St Wilfrid’s Michael Ferry was interviewed on breakfast television where he stated that he would not fine a parent. This then led to a whole debate about who was right and what the right decision should be.

Now West Sussex County Council has added to this furore by refusing to support a decision to not fine a parent made by any head teacher or school in Crawley.

In a statement a West Sussex County Council Spokesperson said:

“We welcome the plan for all children to return to the classroom in September after, what has been for many, a lengthy absence.

“We recognise that some children may be anxious about returning to school and will work closely with our schools to help them prepare children and build the confidence of parents  and carers in the plans for a safe and managed return.

“We will continue to work with schools to engage with and support parents and carers in getting their children back into school before considering issuing penalties for poor attendance. Issuing fines for non-attendance is always a last resort.”

The lack of apparent support from the county council shows an ever growing divide on decisions being made around the ongoing problems with the coronavirus.

Responding to the comments from West Sussex, Michael Ferry said:

“The guidance allows head teachers as far as they can to make local decisions to meet the needs of their school communities.  If one of those decisions happens to be that we are not going to fine people for something that isn’t their fault then I would expect the local authority to support the headteachers in doing so.

If only 10% turn up when we reopen then I would say I have failed because I have not got across the message about what measures we are taking to protect our students.”

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