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So it’s Monday as this blog is written, and our Ellie has scheduled us an allotted slot in her carefully colour coded project schedule. We have just 10 minutes to quiz her about the build-up to the East Kent Apprenticeship Awards 2022, so we’d better – to quote – ‘just get on with it.’ Time stops for no-one, certainly not this week anyway.

How is it going with preparations for EKAA?

“So far so good, we have had RSVPs from all finalists, we have music playlists sorted, catering all sorted and the design team have done an amazing job bringing together all the creative aspects. It has been a real team effort, manic but fun!”

What is there left to do before Thursday?

“Finalising the script for the evening, making sure all VIP guests have confirmed attendance, collecting winner trophies and purchasing table decorations, popping to Buckingham Palace to double check Lizzy is definitely coming. I may have made the last one up. Next year’s target!”

How long have you had to organise?

“We had just over three weeks to organise. Covid restrictions put a delay on the event approval date so it has been a busy few weeks. However, in such a condensed time period much has been achieved and I have managed to learn a lot”.

This is the one of the first events you’ve managed. What have you learned so far about what makes a successful event?

“Organisation. Planning. Teamwork. Lots of cups of tea and spreadsheets. Oh and a few moments of panic where you think you have forgotten everything”.

“Most importantly, having someone to support you – events can be daunting for anyone, but having someone to turn to for advice or a ‘don’t worry it’s fine’ moment is key to ensuring I output my best work, therefore – thank you to PB’s events guru Julie O’Connor”!

What do you need to do keep organised?

“Spreadsheets, to-do lists and Basecamp! Spreadsheets are your biggest friend when planning an event, colour coding, filtering and creating snazzy formulas, it just halves the manual admin time! Basecamp is essential for projects and events, it keeps all the activations of all departments in one space. To-do lists, it just feels great to tick something off”!

What have you loved about organising this year’s event?

“I have loved the challenge. It’s something new and fun! I really enjoy engaging with people and making people feel comfortable. I also love working as part of a team so something like this is where I really thrive”.

Are there any stories you’ve loved from the entries?

“All of the stories made me smile for one reason or another, and it was lovely to read what each apprentice has achieved in their journey so far. What I loved though, was how highly the apprentices were spoken about in the places they work. All the finalists were spoken of with such passion, care and pride and it must have made judging extremely difficult”.

Are there any surprises this year in terms of people applying?

“No surprises per-se this year, but who knows for next year…I beg Julie to nominate me for an ego boost”.

How’s the playlist shaping up? What can we expect?

“The playlist involved listening to music as a group and on my own – which was quite fun”!

“The final playlist for has been confirmed, and all the music is upbeat, fun and feel-good! We have live music being played by local musician David Sheppard”.

In as short a line as possible how much time and work and effort goes into organising an event like this?

“The amount of time, work and effort that goes into organising an event like this closely matches the time, work and effort that Santa’s elves in the North Pole put into preparing for Christmas – it’s a seriously busy business”.

How will you celebrate once it’s all over?

“To celebrate the ending of EKAA 2022 I shall reflect, breathe, have a glass of Asti and start prepping for the Pride in Medway 2022 event – it’s all systems go at PB”.

To find out more on EKAA and how you can get involved click here.

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