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Apprentices graduate with top honours

10 July 2020  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in: ,

A group of successful apprentices in Richmondshire have been honoured with awards to celebrate the huge contribution they are giving to local employers and the community.  Sponsored by Richmond’s Company of Fellmongers, former students were due to collect their accolades at the annual Apprenticeship Awards Evening, sadly cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation. However, the Fellmongers wanted to acknowledge the achievements of these young people and delivered the awards to each of the apprentices, along with a cheque for £100 to help them start their careers.

The awards recognise those who have successfully completed apprenticeships and are helping to future-proof the skilled workforce in years to come. The driving force behind this initiative is Mr John McDonald, a retired Headteacher who is totally committed to apprenticeships and has developed the awards event and taken it from strength to strength.  Local organisations supporting the initiative include leading local employers. Randall Orchard Construction, Mowbray School, Mainsgill Farm, Froneri UK, Broadacres, ProPharma Group Ltd and North Yorkshire County Council.

John McDonald said: “Fellmongers have always known that the future depends on training good apprentices – young people with talent and ambition who work hard.  This part of our tradition is something we want to continue and each year we celebrate the achievements of our apprentices in our area – we like to say ‘well done and welcome to adult working life.”

Ryan Jacques, apprentice stonemason/bricklayer at Randall Orchard Construction said: “I am really honoured to have received the Fellmongers’ award and am most appreciative of Randall Orchard for recommending me.  The apprenticeship scheme is a great way for me to learn my trade as a stonemason and bricklayer and also to continue my studies, so it offers me the best of both worlds.”

Graeme Newton, Managing Director at Randall Orchard Construction and an alumnus of Richmond Sixth Form College, added: “We really appreciate the contribution apprentices make to Randall Orchard. They are an essential part of our strategy to nurture skilled tradesmen who are the backbone to making our business successful. Richmond School can always be relied upon to support their students with exceptional careers advice and work experience opportunities so they have an appreciation of the realities of the workplace and what is expected. We value the character of the individual very highly – the right attitude and a good work ethic go a long way in any industry, and Ryan perfectly demonstrates those important qualities.”

Nominations for awards are received directly from apprenticeships or the companies training them, regardless of trade.  Their applications are carefully considered and then a work visit is arranged so the Fellmongers can meet the apprentice and find out about their training and how they are progressing. The awards are unique in their undertaking, giving the apprentices the opportunity to have their own graduation, in the same way that a university graduate is awarded with a degree certificate.  As even more young people develop their careers through apprenticeships, the awards recognise the contribution that they make to the local economy.

Liz Mannion, Careers Leader, concluded: “It is wonderful to see how our students with apprenticeships have been progressing since leaving school, and how their confidence has grown. The Fellmongers demonstrate a massive commitment to our students every year. John MacDonald works hard to recognise every apprentice in the Richmond area. It is extremely generous of the Fellmongers to acknowledge the students in this way and recognise the importance of the apprenticeship career path.”

A Fellmonger is one of the oldest professions. Dealers in hides or skins, they were originally an ancient craft and trading company with their origins in the Middle Ages. In present day, they carry out social and charitable activities.

More information on the Fellmongers is available  here

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