YOUNG people about to enter the world of work were given vital inroads into apprenticeships as a result of a new networking alliance of businesses, educationalists and training providers.
Pupils from Wirral’s St John Plessington Catholic College gained first-hand knowledge of the construction industry when Dave McCormick, contracts manager with Curtis Painting Group - part of the Russell Taylor Holdings group of companies - gave a special presentation to a Year 10 and 11 group.
Dave said: “As more and more job opportunities open up in construction and young people - and their parents - are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of taking up an apprenticeship, it’s important for them to understand how the apprenticeship system works, the types and levels of apprenticeships available and what steps they need to take to get on the jobs ladder via this route.
“Going to St John Plessington was a great chance to talk to students aged 15 and 16 - boys and girls - who will soon be making decisions about their future jobs.
“As someone whose business has a thriving apprenticeship programme, I hope I passed on to them my passion for training that can set a young person up for life in a highly-skilled and well-paid job and provide employers with a flow of workplace talent to help bridge our skills gaps.”
Working in partnership with Dave on the St John Plessington project was Jane Edwards, business development manager at Wirral Metropolitan College.
The new networking alliance is being spearheaded by Peter Russell, chairman of recruitment specialists Russell Taylor, and one of its aims is to give young people the right direction and information to help them join the world of work.
Peter, a keen champion of developing and nurturing talent within his own organisation as well as in the local communities where the business has its roots, explained: “Bridging the gap between aspiring young talent and forward-thinking companies has never been more important than now, with greater attention on engagement between employers, schools and colleges at the forefront of our mindset.
“As workplace needs become even more complex, strong collaboration among these groups is crucial to address our current skills gaps so we can prepare the next generation to become the business leaders of tomorrow.”
Rachael Clarke, who leads careers initiatives at St John Plessington College, added: “Being part of the Russell Taylor network is a unique opportunity for us create and further develop links with business and industry to address the career aspirations of our students.
“The presentation about apprenticeships in the construction industry helped them to understand the various options and pathways to employment so they can plan realistic next steps to the world of work.
“As well as raising awareness of how the labour market is changing, events like this show young people how workplace skills, knowledge and learning can offer them a greater level of participation in society to help them reverse generations of disadvantage.”
Also taking part in the college presentation was Catherine Tidy, creative director at Bettsy & Co, Russell Taylor’s marketing division. Catherine, a former apprentice herself, told of her decision to become an apprentice rather than go to university and how, with a background in the arts and digital marketing, has now become major contributor to the company’s growth.
Along with St John Plessington College, organisations supporting the Russell Taylor networking partnership include Wirral Chamber of Commerce, Wirral Metropolitan College, Hugh Baird College in Liverpool and The Hive Youth Zone in Birkenhead as well as training, HR and sector skills experts.