The York Apprenticeship Graduation Ceremony

On the 18th November 2013 some 120 apprentices gathered with relatives and friends for their graduation ceremony in the Minster. In fact there were over 1000 from York who graduated in 2013, but as they take up jobs across the country, it becomes a difficult challenge to get them back for this ceremony. However the numbers attending are growing each year. These apprentices were from many dozens of organisations representing a wide range of business types including for example:
Advanced Fitness
Business and Administration
Children and Young People’s Workforce
Construction Building 
Customer Service     
Dental Nursing    
Employment Related Services
Food and Drink  
Furniture Furnishings and Interiors
Gas Industry 
Health and Social Care 
Hospitality and Catering
IT Application Specialist
IT User
MES Plumbing
Property Services
Rail Engineering
Sales and Telesales
Spectator Safety
Sporting Excellence
Travel Services
Vehicle Body and Paint
Vehicle Maintenance and Repair
Veterinary Nursing
Warehousing and Storage
The seven Masters of the York Gilds initially attended a reception at the Dean Court Hotel before processing to the Minster (see photo, from left to right: Fred Brown (Merchant Adventurers); Tom Kettlewell (Merchant Taylors); Alec Stephenson (Freemen); Rebecca Thompson (Building); David Hobman (Cordwainers), Tim Hinton (Scrivenors); Jeremy Selman (Butchers).
The event was sponsored by several organisations including the National Apprenticeships Service, York City Council, and York College. The Clerk of the Merchant Adventurers, Stephen Upright, organised the involvement of the Gilds. The historical role of the York Gilds in representing the original foundation of apprenticeships, was highlighted in the brochure that contained all 1000+ of the apprentices names, their employers and apprenticeship providers (see photo)
The historical atmosphere provided by the Minster, and the presence of the Gild Masters, certainly created a great sense of occasion for the ceremony.  Each Master took it in turn to congratulate about 20 apprentices as they walked across the stage to collect their certificate (see photos). 
During the ceremony, several speeches were made including an inspirational one given by the celebrity hairdresser Andrew Barton. He had started out as an apprentice hairdresser in Barnsley, and now has a famous Salon in London, was the hairdresser on the TV Programme ‘10 Years Younger’, has styled the hair of many celebrities, and sells his own hair care product range through Asda. One of the lessons he learned as an apprentice was that if something he has done is ‘alright’ then it isn’t – continuous improvement and the pursuit of excellence are keys to success. 

This ceremony was an extremely worthwhile occasion for the Gilds to honour the achievements of these apprentices, and to endorse the benefits of the apprenticeship scheme for both individuals and companies. The evening ended with a photo opportunity for groups of the apprentices in this wonderful setting (see photo).
Jeremy Selman
10th January 2014