#Apprentices were hailed in a graduation evening hosted at Warwick Racecourse.

The apprentices donned their best suits and dresses to celebrate the completion of their apprenticeships with WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group).

More than 130 guests, including family, friends, employers and tutors, attended the ceremony, which was hosted in the Paddock Pavilion at Warwick Racecourse.

Apprentices graduated from across a wide range of sectors, ranging from engineering to early years.

It marked the seventh apprenticeship graduation event hosted by the college group, which trains more than 2,500 apprentices each year from more than 1,100 employers.

Radio presenter Dave Sharpe conducted the role of master of ceremonies on the evening, with Jose Lopes, head of business engagement at the WMCA, delivering the keynote address.

WCG CEO Angela Joyce also addressed the apprentices, before joining Jose Lopes on stage to hand out the official graduation scrolls.

Two outstanding apprentices were selected on the evening – highlighted for their high level of performance during the course of their apprenticeships.

Lucinda Bull, from Kenilworth, was named Outstanding Apprentice for Engineering, for completing her Engineering apprenticeship with Jaguar Land Rover.

Chloe Dhaliwal, of Purple Playhouse Nursery in Leamington, received the Outstanding Apprentice for Service Industries award for work in her Early Years apprenticeship.

Angela Joyce said: “We are very proud of all our apprentices and it was a fantastic evening to celebrate their success.

“At WCG we work with a wide range of employers across a vast number of industries, and it was wonderful to welcome our apprentices’ employers on the night, too.

“Apprenticeships are a crucial way of bringing new highly skilled talent into the workforce, and we are proud to be the region’s largest College apprenticeship provider.

“We formally celebrate success at every level at WCG and we wish all our graduating apprentices the best of luck in their future careers.”

Issac Alun-Jones, 29, from Stratford-on-Avon, completed a joinery apprenticeship with Avon Boating whilst studying at Moreton Morrell College.

He said: “I’m a little bit older than your average apprentice and I wanted to be able to work whilst learning practical skills and gaining a qualification. This was a great way to do it.

“I worked on the ferry in Stratford when I was a teenager and that’s where I first got interested in the boats. I went on to work at the boathouse most summers and joinery is a good way of getting into what is quite a niche industry.

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“You get some much more than just learning knowledge in an apprenticeship. I really valued what I learned at college and by doing it every day at work I was much more accomplished in my trade.”

Adam Hancock, 19, from Finham in Coventry, studied for a two-year apprenticeship in horticulture at Pershore College, whilst working for Smith's Nurseries & Garden Centre.

Adam said: “I’m more of a practical person and the apprenticeship route was definitely the right one for me.

“We learned all the skills that we needed at college and doing an apprenticeship has helped me to develop as a person. I’ve got a job for life now at the nurseries.”

Beth Machin, 22 from Tamworth, completed an apprenticeship in advanced manufacturing, engineering and design with Jaguar Land Rover and studied at Warwick Trident College.

She said: “I’d never really considered an apprenticeship but I had a leaflet come through for the Young Women in the Know scheme, and I was really interested from there.

“I’m in a better position than a lot of people my age now. I was quite shy at school and being thrown into the world of work definitely helped me to come out of my shell.

“I’ve learned all the skills associated with manufacturing and design, but doing an apprenticeship has definitely helped me to improve as a person as well.”

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