St Helens teenagers launch national Coalfields apprentice scheme


Published by Ashley M for Helena Partnerships in Communities

Monday 23rd April 2012 – 12:32pm

Helena's apprentices launch the new initiative on the bridge at Langtree Park stadiumHelena’s apprentices launch the new initiative on the bridge at Langtree Park stadium

Two St Helens apprentices have launched a new initiative to get young people from former coalmining communities across the country into work.

The scheme has created 45 new apprenticeships in former pit villages and towns across the UK through a joint initiative between housing associations, the National Housing Federation and the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.

Danielle Tatlock and Jenna Heesom, both aged 19, were recruited as apprentices for housing association Helena Partnerships. Their posts were created under the joint initiative which they officially launched on the eye-catching bridge at Langtree Park, the new stadium for the town’s much-loved rugby team St Helens RLFC.

The teenagers were joined by Derek Long, head of the North for the National Housing Federation, Liz Haworth, Executive Director of Business Transformation at Helena, and both chief executive officer Gary Ellis and deputy chief executive officer Vin McCabe from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.

Derek Long, head of the North for the National Housing Federation, said: “Housing associations provide great training and employment opportunities for young people as they are embedded in local communities.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and housing associations such as Helena to provide top class apprenticeships across the country, including here in St Helens.”

Gary Ellis, chief executive officer of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, said: “With the high youth unemployment figures this programme will be a real boost for young people struggling to find work.

“Former coalfield communities have been badly hit by the economic downturn and this has compounded the problems already experienced by young people. This programme is a direct response to help young people into work and create a strong platform for their future aspirations. We welcome the partnership support from the National Housing Federation and their members in helping us deliver this exciting programme.”

Liz Haworth, Executive Director of Business Transformation at Helena, said: “Working with our partners to provide work and training opportunities for young people in St Helens is a key priority for Helena’s Board and it’s been a pleasure to welcome our new apprentices to the team.

“We’re passionate about breaking down preconceptions about the young people living on our estates and have seen lots of success stories over the years, as our apprentices have really siezed their opportunity and gone on to great things.”

Under the inititiative, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust has agreed to fund half of the wages for each of the 45 apprentices who gain employment with a housing association.

In return, each housing association has committed that every trainee will receive a first-class apprenticeship opportunity, gaining at least a year-long contract of work and a pledge that they will finish their traineeship with at least an NVQ Level 2 qualification.

The scheme has primarily targeted young people aged between 16 and 25, including teenagers previously not in employment, education or training. The scheme has focussed on former pit villages and towns in Yorkshire, the North East, the Midlands and the North West.

Danielle Tatlock lives just outside of St Helens town centre. She is an apprentice with Helena’s Performance and Intelligence team. After leaving school, Danielle successfully completed an apprenticeship with the Support Services department of St Helens Council and worked as a part-time receptionist at a local leisure centre. Jenna Heesom lives in Sutton, St Helens, and is an apprentice organisational development and legal assistant at Helena.

Danielle said: “I’m very ambitious and I hope my apprenticeships will improve my job prospects by making me stand out from the crowd. So far I’m really enjoying myself at Helena, especially getting to grips with the performance management software which I haven’t used before.”

Paul ChampionStrategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

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