Apprenticeship successes celebrated

Group of smiling people standing on stageAPPRENTICES across the county were celebrated at a special graduation ceremony recently.

The East Sussex Apprenticeship Graduation Ceremony, held on the evening of Thursday, November 16, recognised the commitment and hard work of East Sussex apprentices from across all industry sectors and of all ages and levels.

Cllr Bob Standley, lead member for education and inclusion and special educational needs at East Sussex County Council (ESCC), said: “I was delighted to be able to join our graduating apprentices to celebrate their achievements.

“Apprenticeships offer a wonderful opportunity for people to take the first steps onto the career ladder, change career paths, or develop new skills in a current role.

“Our apprentices have all worked so hard to achieve their goals and I wish them well as they continue their career journeys.”

During the ceremony, four special awards based on nominations received from employers, colleagues, apprenticeship providers, and apprentices were presented to celebrate the outstanding achievements of all those involved in the apprenticeship journey.

Aydin Kavakli, an Adult Social Care support worker at ESCC, won the Overall Contribution to the Business Award, which celebrates the outstanding contribution an East Sussex apprentice has made to their workplace during their apprenticeship.

On receiving his award, Aydin said: “I would like to thank my manager and the tutoring team for supporting me through my training, and the county council for the apprenticeship opportunity.

“I expanded and developed my existing skills a lot during this process, and although I appreciate this award, it was unexpected and what I do for my clients on a daily basis is reward enough for me.”

Nominated by training providers and employers, the Best Progression Award recognises the exceptional determination and efforts of an apprentice in the achievement of their apprenticeship through challenging times.

Eleanor Wood, a Practice Manager in Adult Social Care at ESCC, was presented with this award for the “…true grit and resilience she demonstrated in order to complete her Apprenticeship.”

Eleanor said: “I was both really shocked and very proud to have won this award. It was definitely a very bumpy journey with Covid, learning remotely and the usual pressures of life!  I’ve really enjoyed the learning experience and am very appreciative for the support and encouragement from my manager and the apprenticeship team.”

The Amazing Colleague/Apprenticeship Employer Award celebrates the contribution of employees who have either championed apprenticeships within their organisation or have offered exceptional support to apprentices.

This year’s winner was Gavin Fisher, Chief Executive at the Children’s Respite Trust, who was nominated by his apprentice, Abi.

Gavin said: “I’m really touched to have been nominated, as it’s a real privilege to be in a position to have such an influence over someone’s career. Moreover, it was wonderful to see Abi graduate, as she has been such an incredible apprentice.”

Those who tutor and train East Sussex apprentices are vital to the success of the apprenticeship programme.

The Tutor/Trainer of the Year Award celebrates the contribution of a tutor or trainer who has gone above and beyond to support an apprentice during their apprenticeship.

This year the award was won by Becca Saiet, Apprenticeship Lead in the Apprenticeship and Qualifications team within Adult Social Care at the county council.

On being presented with her award, Becca said: “The Apprenticeship and Qualifications Team have worked incredibly hard to develop and deliver the best quality apprenticeships to colleagues working within East Sussex County Council. We are very proud that this was recently recognised with an Ofsted Outstanding grade.

“I was honoured to be nominated by Emma and delighted to actually win. I feel truly privileged to work with amazing apprentices and a fantastic team who have the apprentices at the heart of everything we do.”

The evening also celebrated the contributions of local businesses and educators to the programme and underlined the importance of apprenticeships to the local economy.

Cllr Standley continued: “The graduation evening gave us the opportunity to highlight the key role local businesses and education partners play in the successful apprenticeship programme in East Sussex and I thank them wholeheartedly for their continued support.”

Anyone interested in becoming an apprentice can find out more by calling 0800 0150 400 or by visiting the government’s apprenticeship website at

Organisations looking for more information about apprenticeships, including information on how to access funding that could cover apprenticeship training costs, can visit the Sussex Council of Training Providers website,, to access the free and impartial Transform skills support service.