Trail-blazing apprentices call for Somerset businesses to follow their lead

A cutting-edge Somerset County Council initiative helping young people facing disadvantage gain invaluable training and experience is calling for other organisations to follow its lead.

Thirty-five young people in Somerset have now benefitted from the Council’s flagship training scheme, Pathway to Employment, since its launch in 2013.

The programme helps young individuals, who might need things done differently to find employment, to secure work opportunities across Somerset. It may be that the young person is disabled, has a learning difficulty, or is a care-leaver, for example.

The nature of these opportunities depends on what is best for the young person, through an assessment with Somerset Skills and Learning. It may be work experience or a supported work placement, a traineeship or a 12-18 month apprenticeship.

Over the last year, thanks to the programme, young people in the county have gained new skills in children’s centres, nurseries, schools, in transport and IT Services, and even the County Hall canteen.

To mark National Apprenticeship Week (Monday 9 to Friday 13 March), graduates from the scheme are encouraging other organisations and companies of all sizes to follow in the Council’s footsteps.

Kane Clarke, who benefitted from the scheme in its first year, said: “Before joining the Council I wasn’t sure what direction my future might take. The Pathway to Employment scheme gave me an opportunity at a time I most needed it. I’ve now been at the Council for a couple of years and in that time I’ve had two promotions.”

Apprentice Aaron Dyte added: “Other organisations and businesses should think about starting up their own Pathway to Employment scheme. It would help create even more opportunities in different sectors to the wide variety of people who live in the county of Somerset.”

Cllr Anna Groskop, Cabinet Member for HR and Transformation at Somerset County Council, said: “We really are keen for other organisations, big and small, to adopt this scheme, and see for themselves just how rewarding it is to be able to give valuable experience and training to young people from a range of different backgrounds, both for those individuals, and for a company.”

Organisations or companies interested in finding out more can get in touch with Clive Mallon by emailing CMallon@somerset.gov.uk

Notes to editors

Somerset County Council (SCC) has a well-established apprenticeship scheme that employs more than 150 young people annually. The Pathway to Employment Scheme runs alongside this, offering opportunities to those that may not normally have been successfully employed or engaged via the traditional route.