The Central YMCA recently hosted a private reception at the House of Commons to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week.
The UK’s leading health and fitness charity held the even on Monday (14th March), including speakers: Nadhim Zahawi MP, the Prime Minister’s Apprenticeship Advisor and Nicky Morgan, Education Minister as well as a range of other influential individuals from both the public and private sector.
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Rosi Prescott, CEO, of Central YMCA: “The young people we are going to see and hear from tonight, the whole point of our existence there is no reason for us to exist other than their success.
We are brought together because we have one thing in common, the success of young people.
“For employers because you are looking for talent for the next generation and looking for the security, safety and profitability of your company. For the funders job to provide the right funding to help these learners to get onto the ladder. For the learner, opportunities not always lie in the system of school and University and the traditional pathway.
“I think this is a revolution of people really understanding Central YMCA, apprenticeships and employers, funders and learners and of course politicians and policy makers working together can really reach a real change in our economy and lives of young people.”
Luke Kenny, 24, from Oldham, Manchester, recipient of the Apprentice of the Year award, was working as a chef when he was referred to Central YMCA. He is currently training to be a mechanic.
“I worked as a chef for about 4-5 years, but I hated it and my friend knew that I liked playing with cars, it was more of a hobby if anything, and said they had places on a YMCA courses. I hated chefing, the hours were long and I was on quite a good salary so go from having a decent salary to an apprenticeship wage wasn’t the greatest idea.”
Kenny is in his last year of the apprenticeship and said: “I can’t wait to qualify, finally I want to end up working for myself and open up my own garage. I enjoy getting up in the morning and going to work, No day is the same.
“I rather work with cars then with food.”
The event follows the release of new research by the charity, which revealed that failing to thrive within the mainstream education system and the lack of employment opportunities are the two biggest causes of harm to young people today.
Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary, said: “I would like to congratulate YMCA for everything they do to deliver apprenticeships and engage with employers.
“We firmly believe in government that apprenticeships change lives it provide direction to people who haven’t had the best start in education or who may not know what they want to do workwise and they are very very important to building confidence and self-esteem, but also really contributing to the growth of our country, so we in the department of education are delighted to support those apprenticeships particularly to those between 16-18.
“Thanks to those employers who have taken on apprentices, thank you to the apprentices who are here I the room sharing your positive experiences, if you haven’t got an apprentice yet now is the time to sign up, so we get to make sure we get at least 3 million more apprentices in this country by 2020.”
Central YMCA, which was established in 1844, trains over a 1,000 apprentices every year across different programmes in various centres around the UK. The charity is passionate about changing lives for the better through a blend of education and training.
Zahawi said: “The work you [Central YMCA) do is invaluable. Nicky [Morgan] thank you for everything you’re doing to make sure careers advice is everything it could be, so all children in schools have the opportunity to at least consider an apprenticeship route as a career. What is extraordinary is, this is the best job in government, to chair the Apprenticeship Delivery Board and see people of all ages come up to me and say ‘I haven’t got a job, I have a career.”’
Main photo: (l-r) Luke Kenny and Nicky Morgan.
Second photo: Nadhim Zahawi MP with Kyle Andersson, winner of the Apprentice Progressive Award