|Five teenagers get a new chance at life
L-R Declan Clark, Sam Warren, David Seddon and Jake Green graduate the scheme
Five Wigan teenagers have been offered a new chance for a better life following their graduation from a pre-apprenticeship scheme. Wigan Council set up the scheme a year ago to offer disadvantaged and challenging young people the opportunity for employment and further apprenticeships, which they otherwise might not have had. Thirty young people started the and the first cohort of five have now graduated as part of the Council’s Confident Futures Programme.
Terry Dunn, director - environment, said: “This is a celebration of five young people who have been part of the first cohort of the programme and are now coming out the other side in to full time employment and apprenticeships. The course has taught them to come to work regularly, be reliable and show respect. They have put in a lot of hard work and this has paid off because these five are now going on to further opportunities.
“We’re really proud of the lads; they’ve put in so much and now they have a really bright future. It’s a second chance at life and they’ve all grasped it. They should be really proud of what they have achieved.”
Jan Watkin, gateway worker, said: “Most of the young people who came on to the scheme were care leavers, vulnerable or had other issues such as being young offenders. Perhaps they were teenage parents or had other problems which meant they wouldn’t necessarily have been able to get an apprenticeship. A lot didn’t have GCSEs or qualifications and so they wouldn’t have been able to access further education.
“It’s been a real learning curve for many of the young people because they weren’t used to normal working practices like getting up in the morning and being reliable. They’ve each had a mentor to help them with any issues they might have had. These five are now going on to further apprenticeships as electricians, joinery, cleaning and on the highways.
“This scheme has made such a difference to these young people and given them aspirations for the future they never thought they’d have – it’s opened up a lot of doors for them. We believe that everyone deserves a second chance.”
The Confident Futures Programme aims to give young people ‘Not in Employment Education or Training’ (NEET), and who have left the care or youth offending system, the opportunity to gain new skills to help them get onto the career ladder be it directly into employment or as an apprentice. It has been supported by local charity Groundwork.