The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

YMCA Norfolk says apprenticeships boost prospects 

YMCA Norfolk has spoken out about the positive impacts of apprenticeships as new research is released today that shows four in five young people would recommend them to others and more than three quarters say they have improved their skills and career prospects.

Work in Progress – a report released by YMCA ahead of the Government’s new Apprenticeship Levy that will help secure funding for three million apprenticeship starts over the course of this Parliament – showed that young people overwhelmingly backed the benefits of a vocational route into work.

Tim Sweeting, CEO of YMCA Norfolk, which has run a number of apprenticeships in its Stepping Stones café and its Youth & Community team, said young people should be made aware of the positive benefits of an apprenticeship, to help them in their career choices.

In fact, almost four in five young people (79%) who took part in the research said they were offered a job at the end of their apprenticeship while more than three quarters said it helped to improve their responsibilities (77%), satisfaction (78%) and salary (81%) when in the workplace.

However, despite the positive prospects they afford, young people also highlighted to YMCA a number of concerns around apprenticeships, including the perception of them as a second class route to work with less than one in four (22%) receiving information on them from teachers and lecturers.

Young people also spoke of the difficulties they had covering basic living costs while on the schemes as well as coping with work-study balance. YMCA found that many had no choice but to study at home and on weekends during their apprenticeship due to a lack of time in core working hours.

Tim said: “Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to earn while they learn the necessary skills needed for today’s job market and they are a positive experience for the majority.

“Not only do they prepare young people for the workplace, but they also provide effective routes into employment. We have seen first-hand how learning new skills can boost young people’s overall confidence and set them up for a positive future.

“However, while we welcome the Government’s focus on investing in the value of apprenticeships, we believe there is still room for improvement.

“Young people need better careers advice in schools to open up further options to them, a more realistic work-study balance that protects them from exploitation and improved support from employers to help them afford basic living costs. By putting these provisions in place, more young people will rightfully see apprenticeships as the progressive option our research has proven them to be.”

YMCA Norfolk former Youth & Community Apprentice, Kayleigh Temperton, said: “I initially started with an admin role but have since had the opportunity to branch out and now do some finance work as well and am learning new skills all the time.

The best outcome was the opportunity for a full-time job at the end of the year.  It was great to work while at the same time gaining qualifications and more skills I could use. I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone. It's a gateway into full-time work and the best way of gaining vital experience if you don't have any yet.

YMCA Norfolk was particularly special to me as I've experienced homelessness myself so have been able to give something back to those who helped me.”

Pictured above is ex YMCA Norfolk apprentice Kayleigh Temperton.

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