A RECORD number of Heathrow apprentices celebrated their graduation with business leaders, MPs and airport colleagues at the 13th annual Heathrow Academy Graduation and Awards Ceremony.

The spotlight was shared by 143 graduates who took to the stage at the Sofitel Terminal 5 to receive honours for courses ranging from business administration to retail.

Since 2004, Heathrow has contributed omore than £7.8m to the Heathrow Academy, based in Longford.

So far, the Academy has helped more than 3,600 people find work, 5,800 advance into further training and more than 1,500 into apprenticeships.

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Graduate Sandeep Padam said: “The apprenticeship offered me a structured programme with set targets and, through the guidance of my assessor and mentor, I gained a work-based qualification (NVQ) in team leading.”

Ealing Southall MP Virendra Sharma said: “It was a real honour to join my constituents in celebrating their success and to hear more about their journeys. The Heathrow Academy performs a vital role for our local area.”

Ealing Central and Acton MP Dr Rupa Huq and Feltham and Heston MP Seema Malhotra were also present.