The key to economic prosperity in Hampshire lies in ensuring the county’s workforce has the necessary skills to meet the demands of local businesses today and into the future.
That’s why the County Council is investing in a range of programmes to enable people to enhance their skills as part of its ‘Hampshire Futures’ work aimed at helping local people into employment.
The creation of 1,000 apprenticeships and traineeships over the next five years under the Hampshire Youth Investment Programme is part of this exciting work. The programme gives young people like Gavin and Hannah real work experience and an opportunity to gain vocational qualifications. Apprentices and trainees receive on and off the job training, with opportunities as diverse as mechanics, administration, rangers, and teaching assistants.
The Council also runs the Hampshire Award Programme, providing opportunities for young people like Beth who are between 16-18 years old (25 if they have special needs or learning disabilities) and who are not in education, employment or training. Through a programme of activities, supported work placements and taster days, the scheme enables them to gain confidence, self esteem, relevant personal and vocational skills and work-related qualifications.
In addition, Hampshire Careers and Employability Service provides services to schools and colleges to help them support young people, including one-to-one careers guidance, and group sessions.
For adults seeking to get back into work, the Council is funding vital Working Futures/Skills programmes in areas with the highest levels of unemployment. Activities are run at Hurst Community College, Basingstoke; Portchester Community School, Fareham; Yateley School, Yateley; Harrow Way Community School (at Andover Adult and Family Learning Centre); and Samuel Cody Specialist Sports College in Farnborough. The scheme offers maths, English and working with children classes; job clubs; and work skills courses covering CV preparation, IT skills and job applications. Courses are already supporting people into work.
Adding to his skills and experience and earning while learning are the best aspects of an apprenticeship with Hampshire County Council, according to Gavin Brewer. Gavin joined the Council’s Traffic Management team in August
2013 on a two-year apprenticeship and is thoroughly enjoying it. Through weekly day release training, he is studying for BTEC and NVQ qualifications as part of the apprenticeship. He deals with enquiries from the public about road schemes, signage, speed limits and other safety-related measures. “I enjoy being part of a service to the public. It is very interesting work. There’s a lot to learn but my manager and the team have all been really friendly and supportive. It’s a good balance of on-the-job training and day release training.”
Hannah has a strong work ethic and is very much a ‘people person’. Initially she wanted to be a hairdresser when she left college, but a back injury following a car crash put paid to that plan. Hannah knew she wanted something which would keep her busy and develop her skills. So in the summer of 2013, she started an apprenticeship at the County Council. As well as working in a busy office environment, Hannah is being supported to study for a Level 2 NVQ in Business Administration.
“I like working face-to-face with the public. It can be very busy at times, but I enjoy that. The work is very varied. I would definitely recommend the Apprenticeship Scheme. It is run very well. The rest of the team are always there for me and I am learning from their experience. I am never just left to it. Everyone is really friendly and helpful.”
Beth dropped out of college as a result of stress and was unable to complete her A Level/BTEC studies. She didn’t know what to do next and said she felt “completely lost”. Motiv8, a voluntary organisation which supports young people who are not in education, training and employment, referred her to the County Council’s Award Programme. They felt the combination of careers advice, adventure activities, practical and emotional support would help rebuild her confidence and support Beth to find her way again. They were right!
“I would definitely recommend the Hampshire Award Programme to other young people. It has helped me with my confidence. Everyone has been so understanding and helpful. They haven’t rushed me, they have matched me to activities that suit my personality but they challenge me to do new things which I wouldn’t have thought of doing.”
One such thing is her work experience placement at Havant library. It has led to an apprenticeship. Beth hopes to work towards a career in libraries or museums.
Vanessa went from learning to earning, thanks to a series of Work Skills courses funded by the County Council and run at Samuel Cody Adult Learning Centre. She had been out of work, bringing up her children and wanted to improve her job prospects. Thanks to the courses, her application to be a Learning Support Assistant at the school was successful.
“The courses are the key to me being where I am now,” said Vanessa. “There was a range of people on them, some had been made redundant, others were single parents looking to get back into work and some were older people who were finding it hard to find a job. I was nervous about going at first, but we were all in the same boat and helped each other. Nicky, who ran the courses, was amazing, really supportive and encouraging. Her enthusiasm rubbed off on everyone. She helped me prepare for my interview and was delighted when I got the job at the school. I love it! I wouldn’t have achieved this without her.”
Training and education opportunities for young people, including the Hampshire Award Programme, and to register your interest in an apprenticeship with the County Council
Current County Council apprenticeship vacancies, visit the National Apprenticeship Service website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk
Adult learning classes run at schools