Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon has visited the latest group of young apprentices as they take their first steps in the world of work.
The Mayor’s Apprentices Programme was launched in January 2009 as part of Mr Mallon’s Youth Agenda.
The aim was to focus on a wide range of issues affecting young people and to ensure they get the best start in life as they hold the key to the town’s future.
Apprenticeships provide young people with the opportunity to earn a wage while gaining formal qualifications, and they help businesses boost morale and productivity by providing workers with relevant, up to date skills.
Over the last two years the Mayor’s Apprentices Programme has been co-ordinated by Middlesbrough Council’s Work-Based Learning service with support from the Working Neighbourhoods Fund.
When the project comes to an end this month (March 2011) more than 70 young people will have been helped to achieve either a Level 2 apprenticeship or an advanced apprenticeship at Level 3 in a variety of careers and jobs.
Among the initiatives was a partnership between Work-Based Learning, Unity City Academy and the Council’s Leisure Services to engage ten advanced apprentices in Sport and Leisure (at Level 3) into employed status, eight with the Council and two with the Academy.
The programme started in September 2010 and saw the Council apprentices gain experience at the Southlands, Neptune, Rainbow and Clairville leisure centres. The group also attended weekly ‘off the job’ training at Unity City Academy.
Mr Mallon has been involved in the scheme from the outset, taking a keen interest in the young people’s progress in the various job roles.
He visited the group at Unity City Academy as part of National Apprenticeship Week last month to talk to them about their development and their hopes for the future.
Mr Mallon said: “I’ve been greatly impressed by their enthusiasm and I’m sure what they have learned will stand them in good stead for the future.
“The Youth Agenda was set because there is no doubt that Middlesbrough’s young people represent the future of the town.
“They will be the guardians of the town in the years to come, so the least we can do is to give them the best possible start in life.
“Apprenticeships are a vital tool to help young people develop the skills they need to thrive in the world of work, and I’m delighted that so many organisations and companies in the town have become involved with this project.
“They have created fantastic opportunities which will benefit these young people for the rest of their lives.
“I will continue to follow their progress and look forward to hearing their experiences as their jobs and careers develop.”
For further information about opportunities with Middlesbrough Council’s Learning Works training programme for young people aged 16 to 18 please contact Wendy or Karis on 01642 502789 or 07717 730149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org