Lucy Powell MP Shows Support for National Apprenticeship Week

On Friday 7th March, Labour MP Manchester Central Lucy Powell met with local employer, Sugden Sports Centre, and their ex-trainee James Irwin (19), who made the leap from unemployment to aspiring fitness instructor with the help of a government-funded Traineeship.

Traineeships were introduced to help young people acquire worthwhile work experience, giving them the skills and experience that employers are looking for. At its core are work preparation training, English and Maths for those who need it, and a high quality work experience placement. The ultimate aim is to help young people secure jobs.

On meeting both employer and apprentice, Ms Powell commented:

I’m really pleased that a sports centre in my constituency is offering this scheme and it is brilliant that this led to a contract at the end. I hope that his story encourages other young people to take a look at training schemes available.

James’ Traineeship was delivered in 12 weeks by Lifetime Training, through a mix of both classroom and on-the-job learning. It proved so successful that he is now employed by the Serco Leisure owned and University of Manchester / Manchester Met funded Sugden Sports Centre in Manchester as a Recreation Assistant where he sets up the sports halls and helps answer customer enquiries.

I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do when I was at school,” admitted James. “I just came up blank. So when I left, I worked at the local hospital in medical records which was fine at the time but wasn’t really me. I searched for vacancies online and soon found the Lifetime Traineeship course. A career in fitness sounded great so I signed up.

That’s when I was introduced to Sugden’s. I did my work placement and was lucky enough to be offered a contract. It seemed so easy! I’m looking to start my Level 2 Apprenticeship which will mean I get more responsibility and can progress as a Fitness Instructor.” 

Simon Howcroft, Contracts Manager, Sugden Sports Centre said, “As all employers will testify the recruitment and selection of staff is one of the key factors in service delivery. The recruitment of James and other students via attendant Traineeships/Modern Apprenticeships who gain qualifications while in the workplace is an advantage. The tailoring of qualifications and practical experience reduces investment of time and money in the induction process.

The trainee in this case, James, started employment more confident and understanding the principles we were looking for.  James adopted a positive work ethic and has adopted the Centre culture of service delivery from the outset.  

James will continue to develop as an employee and will be best placed to progress within the company when opportunities arise.” 

James was supported throughout his 12 week course by his Lifetime Training tutor Carol Stynes-Martin:

“Young people don’t necessarily need to have experience of an industry before starting a Traineeship course, just the enthusiasm and keenness to learn. James came with no prior experience of the active leisure market but enjoyed working out and the more he learned about the sector the more his passion developed.

“He was really positive about work and the course; was punctual, reliable and an extremely committed individual. Just the sort of qualities employers look for. Initially he lacked confidence and people skills but these skills developed as the course went on. A great result all round.”

Traineeships can be completed in anything from six weeks through to six months and include core elements such as work preparation training, English and Math support if required, and a quality work experience placement with an employer.

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