Working as an apprentice, 24 year-old Ben from Stockport now has real hope of a working future as he builds on his newly acquired customer service skills.
Ben was accepted on the supported apprenticeship scheme run by Stockport Council for 16 to 24 year-olds with special needs. Ben wanted to share his progress during National Apprenticeship Week to raise awareness of the opportunities available through training.
Build the Future is the theme for this year’s special campaign week (running from 8th February) to encourage potential candidates to consider how apprenticeships can build the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career.
“Apprenticeships are great and my training is giving me valuable experience and a real feel for being in work,” said Ben, who was supported into his position by Ingeus’ Working Well (Work and Health Programme).
Ben was initially referred by Stockport Jobcentre Plus to Working Well (Work and Health Programme), an employment support scheme for individuals with disabilities and health conditions. It is delivered in Greater Manchester by Ingeus, on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, with support from the European Social Fund.
Ingeus key worker Wendy Willis explained: “My priority was to build up Ben’s communication skills and self-confidence. Although Ben manages his learning disability very well, I suggested a series of tasks to develop his sense of independence.”
On the road to employment
Proud Ben passed his selection interview, and his apprenticeship began at OurBoards CIC, a company that provides communication boards to help people with hidden disabilities and neuro diversities.
“My key worker Wendy helped me so much and suggested ways to improve my lifestyle,” added Ben. “I would recommend apprenticeships to anyone. I feel my training is giving me hope and I’m confident that I will find work when I complete my course.”
Sarah Herdan, with Stockport Council’s Apprenticeships Store team, commented: “Established in 2015, our Supported Apprenticeship Scheme was designed to help break down barriers to employment, and has helped dozens of young people like Ben to access meaningful work. Stockport Council funds apprentices’ wages and training costs for the duration of the apprenticeship, normally one to two years.
“This enables us to work closely with local employers and partners, like OurBoards and Ingeus, to create bespoke placements which empower young people to reach their potential.”