Over the past three years, Wigan Council has supported lots of young people to gain apprenticeships both within the council and other organisations.
Providing training and employment opportunities for residents is one of the council’s key priorities. By 2020 the council want 60 per cent of working age residents to be qualified to NVQ level 3+ or equivalent making Wigan Borough a great place to live, work, visit and do business.
The apprenticeship programme gives individuals the chance to work and gain qualifications at the same time.
Residents can also access traineeships and pre-traineeships, which provide valuable work experience and skills such as CV writing and interview techniques, helping them to secure that dream job.
Amy Hickey, 25, was accepted on to a 12-month apprenticeship with Action for Children after spending a brief time at college. Following this she secured a full time position with the charity and now works as a business support officer while she studies for her Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship.
Amy said: “Before my apprenticeship I was unemployed and had no direction. I spent time at college but the classroom environment didn’t suit me as I’m more of a visual learner. I spent a couple of months volunteering for Wigan Safeguarding Children’s Board which made me realise I was interested in administration work, then I applied for the apprenticeship programme.
“Before I entered the apprenticeship programme, I had some qualifications but no experience. Volunteering was great but this gave me the chance to work and learn at the same time. It has changed my life and set my career path.
“I’m now employed as a business support officer and am carrying on with my Level 3 apprenticeship. My tutor has been really flexible and comes in to work to see me once a month. I have also been asked to be an apprentice ambassador, which involves me visiting schools and colleges to offer information about the scheme.”
Action for Children have now taken on another apprentice, Lucy Ainscough, 17.
Lucy said: “I went to college for a month but didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so I’ve joined the apprenticeship scheme and it’s giving me a really great experience.”
Neil Webster, senior business support officer at Action for Children said: “The apprenticeship programme has been fantastic for us. Being able to access funding and training through the council has enabled us to give these girls an employment opportunity that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. We’re able to give them a step up to starting their career while accessing their skills in return.”