£1m plan to create 100 new apprentices

Sheffield Council leader, Julie Dore (centre) with apprentices  Awais Zulfiqar (left) and Albaney Cummings (right) who are on Visual Merchandising apprenticeships.
Sheffield Council leader, Julie Dore (centre) with apprentices Awais Zulfiqar (left) and Albaney Cummings (right) who are on Visual Merchandising apprenticeships.
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ONE hundred young people are to benefit from a £1 million programme to create apprenticeships in Sheffield.

The scheme, one of the new Labour administration’s flagship policies, was approved by cabinet members at a meeting yesterday and will be funded by using £500,000 from a Government grant to help the local economy.

A further £500,000 will come from private sector companies who will take on the apprentices.

Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore said: “We know how important skills are for businesses and that is why we want to work together to make sure that our young people are equipped with the skills they need.”

The programme will start recruiting young people in the autumn, who will be matched to a private or voluntary sector employer.

Two young people who are already on apprenticeships in Sheffield, Awais Zulfiqar and Albaney Cummings, have told of the benefits.

Awais, aged 17, from Tinsley, is working towards an apprenticeship in Visual Merchandising.

The former Brinsworth Comprehensive School pupil, who was looking for a job for a year, said: “I was not interested in college and wanted to go into retail. I heard from a mate about the Future;proof course at The Source, at Meadowhall, which I did for six weeks and then applied for the apprenticeship in Visual Merchandising.

“I’ve enjoyed going out to placements and working in the shops and you get to work with some cool stuff too. I think apprenticeships are a good idea and I would tell others to find out more and to give it a go.”

Albaney, 19, who is on the same apprenticeship, had planned a career in health and social care and completed a BTEC in the subject but the former Springs Academy pupil, from Heeley, also could not find a job.

She said: “I was told about the apprenticeship course and thought it sounded interesting so I applied and got on. I’m really enjoying it and it’s like one big family. It’s both fun and educational and good to be in a working environment.

“With apprenticeships you get to learn on the job and enjoy working while getting paid. I think they are a good way for young people to get into work and I have found it a positive experience. I would recommend it to others.”

n Sheffield Jobs Today: P32