Help is at hand for Sheffield’s young jobless

Kirsty Roe,latest recruit to Sheffield Council and the Star's Apprenticed Challenge
Kirsty Roe,latest recruit to Sheffield Council and the Star's Apprenticed Challenge
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A YOUNG batch of wannabe workers are being equipped with the skills they need to make their first step on to the career ladder.

These teenagers are the latest group of NEETs - young people not in education, employment or training - to sign up for The Star and Sheffield Council’s Apprentice Challenge.

The scheme is aiming to get 100 more 16- to 18-year-olds into apprenticeships or employment by part-subsidising wages for employers.

It hopes to help improve prospects for the 1,393 16 to 18 year olds – 733 boys and 660 girls – in the city who are not in education or without work.

On top of that, a ‘Fairy Jobmother’-style course is giving them the skills businesses often complain are missing when they take on young people before they step out into the world of work.

Every candidate who takes part in the challenge must complete six weeks of training in everything from CV-writing, to interview techniques, to appearances at venues in Sheffield.

Mock interviews and team-building exercises are designed to shape them into the ideal worker.

For many of the teens who take part, it makes the transition from school-leaver to employee a less daunting task.

Stef Simms, course leader at The Source Academy in the city centre, said: “What we have found with a lot of our learners is that they just lack the confidence and self-esteem needed to deal with employers.

“CV writing is not something which is taught in schools. Some come to us with very basic ones, but we can help tailor them to the job they want to do.

“A lot of the young people have never had job interviews before.

“We are not there to be teachers, we are there to guide their learning, but we do lay ground rules such as having phones switched off, which you’d expect in any workplace.

“They also come out with a qualification at the end of it.”

Kirsty Roe, 17, of Woodthorpe, Sheffield, is now in her third week of pre-employment training at The Source.

She said: “I was in college studying animal care before I came here. I didn’t know what I was going to do, I wanted to work.

“Being here has helped me realise I want to get into administration. I feel like I could go into a job interview now.”