Apprenticeship lifeline for young people in Doncaster

Apprentice of the Week - Holly Oleisky.
Apprentice of the Week - Holly Oleisky.

‘Earn while you learn’ is an attractive proposition for many students exploring their post-school options.

School’s out and young people across the borough will be now considering their next step.

Pictured is daniel Baghurst at work in the Butchery Dept at Morrisons Store,York Road,Doncaster

Pictured is daniel Baghurst at work in the Butchery Dept at Morrisons Store,York Road,Doncaster

Higher education is not the chosen route for all and apprenticeships are an increasingly attractive option for young people who want to earn while they learn.

And in Doncaster, the aim is to get 750 young people into apprenticeships. Work is going on with local businesses, schools and parents to help to ‘up-skill’ 320 young people and create 750 apprenticeships.

The aim is to match suitable young people with the needs of a business - and it could be anything from a trainee tatooist to a would-be gardener.

The project is a joint initiative between Business Doncaster - part of Doncaster Council - and Skills Made Easy, a new programme funded by the Government through City Deal, which puts control of training directly into the hands of employers in the Sheffield City Region, of which Doncaster is part. It’s also a key platform of mayor Ros Jones’ vision for Doncaster.

Coun Bob Johnson, council cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “It is essential we do all we can to support and encourage our young people in Doncaster, into job opportunities for them.

“An apprenticeship equips young people with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to gain a head start in their chosen career and at the same time supports our economy and helps reduce unemployment in the borough”.

The scheme particularly targets NEETs - young people not in employment, education or training.

NEETs face multiple barriers in search for education and training with 146,000 NEETs in Yorkshire compared with just 37,620 apprenticeships available to young people under the age of 25, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) last month.

The Skills Made Easy programme also cites a lack of motivation and confidence as a barrier to employment and training, and try to combat this by offering a free support service which gives guidance with CV writing and interview techniques for anyone looking to enter an apprenticeship programme, as well as providing on-going support through their apprenticeship.

Benefits of an apprenticeship include earning your own money, gaining on the job experience and nationally recognised qualifications as well as gaining skills which will help you progress in your career.

Holly Oleisky received support from the Skills Made Easy Programme and is now an apprentice with Doncaster recruitment firm Brewster Pratap.

She said: “I decided to do an apprenticeship because school was becoming increasingly tedious.

“Apprenticeships allow young people to enter the working world and obtain qualifications.

“They offer a job with training - this is definitely something that people need to be considering, as jobs at the moment are very hard to find.

“Any person who is unsure about what move to make after finishing their GCSEs should really contemplate looking at an apprenticeship. It gives you the chance to learn skills whilst working as well as building on the qualifications that you need should you choose to move on after your apprentice has finished”.

Supermarket turns store into Craft and Skills Academy

Morrisons has transformed its Doncaster store into a Craft Skills Academy.

The revamped store on York Road champions the traditional skills of its staff who work across the butchers, bakers and fishmongers while promoting these craft skills through its in-store apprenticeship scheme.

The investment means that the store can put 23-year-old Sam Tuxford through its butchery apprenticeship. He currently works as an assistant in the oven-fresh department and will start his new role on the butchers counter in September.

He will follow in the footsteps of Daniel Baghurst, also 23, who recently completed the 12-month apprenticeship to become a qualified butcher.

As well as picking up practical skills from the butchery team, Daniel completed four week-long intensive training courses at college and took part in cookery classes to ensure he knows how best to prepare each cut.

Daniel says: “I think that learning on the job from someone who really knows what they’re doing is the best experience you can get and it’s good to know that the Craft Skills Academy will encourage other people to learn a proper trade and keep the traditions going.”

Both Daniel and Sam will continue to be supervised by meat manager, Brian Laycock who has been a butcher for 48 years.

The introduction of the Craft Skills Academy has also seen 25 staff trained in food and wine matching so they can recommend good combinations to customers, while the store’s craft skills specialists have increased the number of products they make from scratch and the butchers and bakers counters have been opened up so shoppers can see the specialists at work.

Would an apprenticeship suit me?

The Skills Made Easy programme and Business Doncaster are looking for young people to join their apprenticeship programme who are over the age of 16 and are:

- Looking for real career opportunities

- Enthusiastic

- Eager to learn new skills

- Looking to gain new qualifications to help them into employment

I’m interested - so what’s on offer?

Apprenticeships currently on offer as part of the programme include two apprenticeships in the South Yorkshire credit union, an apprenticeship at Doncaster based Emergency Response Training and a horticulture apprenticeship with Edlington Borough Council, apprenticeships in business administration, hair styling, print finishing, glazing and in the horse racing industry at the Northern Racing College. You can search for these vacancies by visiting Business Doncaster website at Business Doncaster visiting their Twitter profile @BusinessinDN or alternatively you can call the Skills Made Easy programme team on 01302 735555 and speak to Linda or Erica.