Andrew George MP Meets Cornwall’s Youth Work Apprentices
Andrew George MP has visited a group of Youth Work apprentices who are undertaking training through a unique new scheme to support Cornwall’s Voluntary and Community sector.
The West Cornwall MP heard from the apprentices, aged 18 to 24, about their ambitions to become community youth workers and their decision to chose apprenticeships as a career path.
The scheme was launched last month and the apprentices are already providing valuable roles at respective organisations across the region, including the YMCA and Devon and Cornwall Housing in Penzance, Young People Cornwall in Truro and Carefree Cornwall in Redruth.
Upon meeting the group, Mr George said: “I came away encouraged and inspired by them and I do wish them all well. Investing in skilled young people in the Voluntary and Community sector is an important area of work and it is vital that we have young people with the kind of enthusiasm and commitment which they clearly demonstrate.”
The pilot Youth Work Apprenticeship scheme is a joint initiative between three Cornish partner organisations. The Falmouth-based Cornwall Apprenticeship Agency (CAA) is overseeing recruitment for the project, while Penzance-based Penwith Community Development Trust (PCDT) is the training provider and the Redruth-based Cornwall Youth Work Partnership has facilitated the apprenticeship work placements with its member organisations.
The first cohort of apprentices began their one-year apprenticeship last month and the CAA is currently recruiting a second cohort of apprentices, due to begin in March. The CAA specialises in providing a flexible and bespoke service to employers and apprentice candidates. It has successfully created nearly 700 apprenticeships across a wide range of sectors within the last two years.
Steve Roberts, of the CAA, said: ‘’This Youth Work Apprenticeship pilot was born out of consultation with Cornwall Youth Work Partnership members and the desire, knowledge and expertise of the CAA’s offer to provide tailored apprenticeship solutions for organisations within the Voluntary and Community sector.
“This, coupled with the development of the Youth Work training framework by PCDT, means that collectively we can offer young people from across Cornwall the opportunity to gain new skills whilst working alongside professionals in a variety of youth work settings.‘’
Tracy Waters, PCDT’s Director of Operations, said: “PCDT is delighted to be involved with the shared apprenticeship scheme and to utilise our skills and experience in order to develop a brand new Youth Work Apprenticeship for young people in Cornwall. This is very much a partnership scheme which helps young people by providing apprenticeships with high quality training attached. It also supports voluntary sector organisations by providing them with young apprentices who add a different dimension and perspective to their organisations.”
Mr George added: “I welcome the creation of hundreds of new apprenticeships in West Cornwall, and the Cornwall Apprenticeship Agency should be congratulated on their work.
“Apprenticeships provide benefits both for businesses and for the young person gaining employment and training. However, West Cornwall has a high number of small businesses which face distinct challenges which larger businesses do not face when seeking to recruit apprentices. More needs to be done to help rural and small businesses create apprenticeships.”
For further details about Cornwall Apprenticeship Agency’s unique approach to helping small businesses visit: www.cornwallapprenticeshipagency.co.uk or call 01326 314 904. Or visit the CAA stand at the Cornwall Business Show at the Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge, on Thursday 19th March.