Sunday, 27 January 2013

The one where I finally get a graduation ceremony.

By dropping out of sixth form after a year and not carrying on with full time education, I never expected I'd ever get to wear a cap and gown. That feeling of never getting a posh photo and receiving a 'scroll' of sorts, wasn't a pleasant one to say the least. I'd see pictures of graduations on Facebook of those I went to school with and it'd kick a little bit inside. It's the same feeling I get when I see other girls getting to be bridesmaids. That's never been me. I don't know if it ever will be me. Who knows?


So when I received a letter from the Nottinghamshire Training Network inviting me to take up a place at their first graduation ceremony, I thought someone was pulling my leg. Even up to the night before, I was expecting we'd arrive and be told it was all a hoax. I finished my Advanced Apprenticeship in Business Admin (what was NVQ level 3) last year. Since then I've started and am close to completing an Advanced Apprenticeship in Customer Service. These qualifications have been done alongside my full time job. It's actually opened my eyes to how much I never realised I knew about my job. Bar the last set of questions I'm struggling with tonight. I'm sure I do know the answers, I just can't seem to put it into words. The apprenticeships make you think about why there are certain procedures in place and how they can be improved. Ever since they introduced them at work, there's been lots of wonderful changes and it's a much more focused atmosphere. Not easy for someone like me but it's certainly a good thing. A change is as good as a rest, there's no time to rest. 

Back to Thursday. My own mother and father couldn't for one reason or another make the ceremony. So I took my adoptive mother and brother instead. I knew they would support me fully and it was great to know that they were there behind me in the audience. The day went very smoothly all in all. On paper, it looked to be a long morning. Arrivals began from 9 am and the actual ceremony didn't start until 11.30. However, this gave plenty of time to queue up to be 'gowned', queue up to have your photo taken and queue up for tea and coffee. You see where I'm going with this. It's a British ceremony, of course there's queuing. I hate it. I never did get a cup of coffee, a Danish pastry or a cake. By half past one, I nearly passed out from lack of food. So if anyone attends one of these in the future, be prepared. Keep a banana handy. 

We were lead into the hall at about 11.15am. There were introductions to the various dignitaries in attendance. I had heard a rumour (and got shamelessly excited at) that Prince Andrew would be attending. Alas no, he couldn't make it (hrrrmph). This whole idea of graduations for apprenticeships is his baby though. He's quite passionate about the whole scheme. That's good enough for me. In turn we were lead up the stage. Being sat on seat B2, I went up quite early on. The waiting to go on was pretty scary. I managed to get across the stage, collect my certificate and pose for a photo easily enough. I then missed the member of staff waiting at the bottom of the stage and ran back to my seat. It was dark and I was nervous. I don't think I ended up in the next person's photo. Sorry if I did.

Two local councillors, one from Labour (yay) and one from the Conservatives (nay) each gave a speech half way through the ceremony. That was a little odd. And it had the feeling of someone giving a eulogy at a funeral of someone they didn't know. 

Once all 250 of us had received our certificates. We posed for a group photo and that was that. Again, I missed the cake queue, as I was outside posing for photos for the training provider. Positive Outcomes are the provider our company work with and wanted to get some PR photos done. There were four of us from PO receiving certificates. One of whom is a trainer who used to visit our office. 

So that was that. I was 'degowned' and off we went. My adoptive mother treated us to Prosecco and a carvery. Then we had cake later on. All in all a good day. 


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