The cream of the Croydon crop

 

A five-minute video outlining what the completion of an apprenticeship means to him and his future has helped a Thornton Heath man to the top spot in a competition to name Croydon’s first best apprenticeship placement.

Kenneth Owusu, 22, learned he had won the first prize after judges watched his video, Day in the Life, describing how his time as an apprentice youth worker has boosted his confidence, improved his job prospects and opened his eyes to the lives of others.

The competition was part of the build-up to the Croydon Apprenticeship Graduation Ceremony, attended by more than 100 people, in Fairfield’s Arnhem Gallery on Wednesday (11), as 26 intermediate and higher level apprentices were honoured and presented with their graduation certificates.

The apprentices, from all over Croydon, have completed their apprenticeships and were joined by parents, friends, employers and organisations involved in apprenticeships. Other guests included Councillor Toni Letts, the council’s cabinet member for economic development; Simon Thomsett, chief executive of Fairfield Halls; and Bianca Miller, who gained national fame on the TV series The Apprentice.

Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week, Croydon’s graduation ceremony was one of a number taking place across England to mark the achievement of higher and advanced apprentices, and to raise the profile of apprenticeships, in a bid to put them on an equal footing with a university route to success.

“Apprenticeships are thriving in Croydon, and it’s easy to see why.

“Nearly every employer that takes on an apprentice reports benefits to their business and this is testimony to the important role they have to play in the country’s economic recovery.

“After finishing, most apprentices will stay in employment with two thirds staying with the same employer.”

Councillor Toni Letts, cabinet member for economic development

 

Kenneth Owusu recently completed an apprenticeship with Lives Not Knives, the charity based in Centrale.

He said: “I’m really proud to have completed my apprenticeship and to have been involved in this graduation ceremony. Apprenticeships are available in so many occupational areas, there’s bound to be something for everyone, and it definitely worked for me.

“My apprenticeship provided me with a rewarding alternative to a university degree and has enabled me to reach my career goals. I’d recommend this route to anyone not sure what to do with their lives.”

Bianca Miller said: “I’ve learnt from my experience of hiring apprentices what a valuable addition they can be to a business.

“More importantly, the apprentice is able to gain a rewarding experience with an unrivalled on-the-job training opportunity, learning from experienced colleagues who are more than happy to share their knowledge and expertise.

“I’d always encourage anyone considering an apprenticeship to grab the opportunity with both hands and see what doors it will open for them.

The graduation ceremonies project is being rolled out nationally following two pilot ceremonies and four trailblazers over the past two years. Some £400,000 of Government funding has been awarded to the project in total.

Photos from the ceremony can be viewed by clicking here

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