How Youth Employment UK empower young people to become more employable
Success stories We spoke to Youth Employment UK, who aim to give young people a voice in youth employment issues; empower young people to become more employable and access career opportunities; and help employers reduce barriers to young people.
Why did you choose to hire an apprentice?
Laura-Jane: The apprenticeships pathway is so strong. A good quality apprenticeship is a phenomenal opportunity for young people to learn and develop. Rhiannon is totally up-to-date on social media, marketing and the views of young people — who make up 50 per cent of our target audience, after all. It's a two-way street. I've learnt a lot from Rhiannon about social media and how to engage with different audiences.
Why did you choose an apprenticeship over university?
Rhiannon: I did my A Levels at 16, but found study and home life very difficult to balance. I then went on to do a BTEC, but that didn't work well, either. Essentially, I discovered that I'm a hands-on learner and I wanted to start work.
How did you go about establishing your apprenticeship programme?
Laura-Jane: My first contact was with the apprenticeship training provider 3AAA. I had a conversation with them because I felt we had a great opportunity for an apprentice, and the time to invest in giving them the support they needed. I sent a job description to 3AAA who managed the whole process. As a small business, that was invaluable as I didn't have time to do the recruitment and resourcing on my own.
How did you find your apprenticeship and where did you look for the information?
Rhiannon: My photography tutor told me to think about apprenticeships. I didn't know much about them before that. I then went to 3AAA and found out more from them — which apprenticeships I could do, and which ones might not be relevant to me — and that was a real eye-opener. 3AAA also helped with 'employability' sessions and interview tips. It felt as though they were on my side.
What have been the benefits of hiring an apprentice?
Laura-Jane: It feels right to me — particularly in our organisation — that we give a young person an opportunity. That was a big driver. I'm sure a graduate would have been excellent at supporting our growth and development, just as Rhiannon is doing. But I wanted to give a young person a great chance of a great career.
What are the advantages of doing an apprenticeship that your peers at university don't experience?
Rhiannon: In a work environment I have more experiences that I would have in an academic one. For example, you may learn about a crisis communication policy on paper; but when you're actually having to deal with one, it's a bit different! Speaking in front of 200 people at an event has also helped me develop in my role, but also given me confidence as a person.
What advice would you give to businesses thinking about starting an apprenticeship programme?
Laura-Jane: Forget everything you think you know about young people, because the majority are hungry and ambitious. And then find a great training provider — be it a college or an independent — to build a relationship with. They will support you through the whole process. And go for it! It'll be good for you to learn how to be a mentor to — and a supporter of — young people.
What advice would you give to young people weighing up their options?
Rhiannon: Think about your strengths. If you have a good memory or love reading then the academic route might be best. But, for me, I like practical situations where I learn as I go. That's when I do really well.