Firms that sign up to Portsmouth's 100 in 100 youth employment initiative could help to change lives
TWO young women have spoken about how taking apprenticeships with Portsmouth City Council has changed their lives.
Ebony Spurge and Ashleigh Winward are sharing their stories to promote the 100 in 100 campaign, which aims to create 100 opportunities for young people in the Portsmouth area in 100 days.
The campaign, supported by The News, was launched last month on the back of rising youth unemployment rates and has seen Shaping Portsmouth and seven partners across the city, including the council, come together to urge businesses to give young people a chance.
Ebony, from North End, is an apprentice administrative receptionist for Portsmouth Enterprise Centre, which is owned by Portsmouth City Council.
The 23-year-old said: ‘I applied for an apprenticeship because I wanted the balance of working and getting a qualification at the same time.
‘Working for the council has allowed me to not only do that but to work somewhere where I have the chance to progress and grow.
‘Since starting my apprenticeship, I have worked with lots of different businesses working at the Enterprise Centre and been given a variety of opportunities.
‘I enjoy working at the Enterprise Centre because not only do I get the chance to work with businesses, I also work across a couple of locations as well as having time to work on my apprenticeship portfolio.’
Ashleigh, from Cosham, is an apprentice administrative receptionist at Victory Business Centre, again owned by Portsmouth City Council.
The 20-year-old said: ‘I saw an apprenticeship as a new exciting career change for me. Portsmouth City Council has a good reputation and invests time to support its staff. It cares about training and our wellbeing.
‘I’ve had first aid and fire training. In addition to my day-to-day job, I also had the opportunity to work on the business support helpline, helping businesses in the local area access important funding during coronavirus restrictions. I am also trusted to undertake my own projects.
‘I see the apprenticeship as an entry into Portsmouth City Council and to help develop my existing skills. From having this job I understand that the Enterprise Centres are an asset to the local community because they encourage employment, support the start-up of small businesses and contribute to the local economy.’
Alan Lowe, Enterprise Centres manager, said that despite a turbulent year, Ashleigh and Ebony were an asset.
He said: ‘Ashleigh and Ebony started just as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold and I have been very impressed with the way they both adapted to this as well as learning the busy job role in such a short time.’
Portsmouth City Council is an apprenticeship provider, delivering in-house programmes to new and existing staff members to develop individuals’ careers. Its programmes including business administration, customer service and port operative.
Apprenticeships can be an exciting employment option as people get hands-on training as well as the chance to put their skills into practice.
They are available at multiple levels, from school leavers to people upskilling in their careers and having complete career changes. There are hundreds to choose from and some include a qualification, like a degree.
For businesses, apprenticeships are part-funded from contributions made by the government.
Alternatively go to solentapprenticeshiphub.com
Roll of honour
We're off to a great start with our 100 in 100 campaign - just two weeks after it was launched, 10 employers in the Portsmouth area have already committed to taking on a total of 11 apprentices. Could you join them? For more information, go to shapingportsmouth.co.uk or to register an interest, e-mail [email protected]
Here's our roll of honour so far:
Really B2B - marketing agency based at Lakeside, North Harbour
Portsmouth Diocese - Church of England area covering 139 parishes
STS Defence - technology and engineering business based in Gosport
Eaton Aerospace - aerospace company based in Bedhampton
Transalis - business solutions company based in Portsmouth
Portsmouth Water - utility company responsible for water supply and distribution
Morris Crocker - chartered accountants based in Havant
Highbury College - further education college in Cosham
Tax Assist - accountancy firm in Portsmouth
Yellow Strawberry - hairdressing salon in Hayling Island
*All apprenticeships are via training provider Highbury College
100 in 100 Partners
Solent Apprenticeship Hub
Hub manager Jodi Fair said: ‘We are thrilled to be playing a part in 100 in 100 and have confidence that this will be beneficial, not only to the individuals who are beginning their career journeys, but also the employers that will be introducing new, skilled employees into their workforce.’
Portsmouth City Council
Cabinet member for culture, leisure and economic development and deputy leader Steve Pitt said: ‘The 100 in 100 campaign is a great opportunity to celebrate the important work that is undertaken across the city and the positive steps it takes towards recovery. Collaboration between our incredible businesses and the skills providers who support them is a powerful tool for growth. As a council we are committed to raising aspirations and skills development. That's why we're supporting this campaign, the business growth and the entrepreneurial spirit Portsmouth is known for.’
College principal and CEO Andrew Kaye said: ‘We are delighted to be supporting this initiative encouraging employers to offer new and existing staff and young adults the opportunity to take their first step on to the career ladder, or progress further in their chosen career. Fareham College’s focus has always been to equip its learners with the knowledge, skills and experience to achieve their ambitions and we look forward to enabling as many people as possible to gain valuable industry experience to set them on the path of their chosen career, as well as aiding the local economy and assisting business recovery in the region.’
Highbury College, Portsmouth
Craig Mincher, commercial director, said: 'The 100 in 100 campaign comes at a crucial time for both individuals and businesses in Portsmouth. Highbury College are proud to play a part in a campaign that will offer such hope and tangible outcomes for both local employers and adults of the city.'
Havant and South Downs College
Director for business growth and innovation Aaron Butson said: ‘Everything we do at HSDC is to realise the ambitions of our community and we fully support Shaping Portsmouth and partners in the 100 in 100 campaign. With everyone working together to realise this ambition, we will all have a tremendous impact supporting young people into work and supporting others in our community regain employment and upskilling opportunities.'
Vice principal Tom Lloyd said: ‘Portsmouth College is delighted to be able to play a role in the 100 in 100 campaign. Collaboration is critical during a crisis and this project is a fantastic example of employers, training providers and agencies from across the city coming together to promote opportunities and support local people back into employment.’
University of Portsmouth
Claire Middleton, degree apprenticeship manager, said: ‘100 in 100 is a great opportunity to highlight all the wonderful new apprentices and employers that we have in the city and to show the commitment they are making in the road to recovery post-Covid. Collaborating with partners is the best way to raise awareness of apprenticeships at all levels and show the diversity of courses, employers and apprentices that are available in our community.'
Chief executive officer Stef Nienaltowski said: ‘Two years ago, we launched our Roadmap to a Career vision and this programme is yet another key part of that. No matter what your age, your career options should not be a hidden secret but something you can get access to and experience readily. This programme aims to give our people that opportunity and, whilst some of the placements are age-limited, some are not. Opportunity is for everyone and Shaping and our partners aim to make that happen with this and following programmes.'