Learning life skills are critical to young people's education

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This week is National Apprenticeship Week.

Overseen by the NAW, the annual celebration of apprenticeships is in it’s 17th year.

From the 5th February to the 11th, it showcases the benefits that apprentices can bring to local communities, businesses, and the wider economy. 

This year is the 17th annual National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week brings together everyone passionate about apprenticeships to celebrate the value, benefit and opportunity that they bring.

The theme for this year is “Skills for Life.’ This looks at how we encourage everyone to consider how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, and employers to develop a workforce with future ready skills.

And this is of course something at Empire Fighting Chance we are very passionate about, providing opportunities and pathways for young people. At present we have two apprentices with us, and in previous years several that have gone onto get employment, including roles with us.

Our apprentices come through the Coach core programme, which is managed by Wesport. Our two most recent are Tanieka and Nojus. The life skills that they learn as part of the programme are invaluable. Tanieka stated : “My experience as an apprentice so far has been great. Even though I’ve only been there for four months, it feels like I’ve always been here as everyone is so welcoming.

Tanieka started as an apprentice with Empire in 2023 

During my time here I’ve learned life skills such as self and stress management, accepting criticism and problem solving. All these things are transferable and can help me in the work place in time,” she added.

Nojus who also started recently said : “Starting my apprenticeship at Empire last year was a big opportunity for me as I have found school very hard. It’s been a good experience to learn new things as Empire has helped me get my communication and confidence up during the day. And this is making be better prepared for life and all it brings.”

Nojus feels his apprenticeship at Empire has taught him valuable life skills.

Apprenticeships are also integral to our Box Careers programme, which involves encouraging employees to take on more apprentices, and create an environment that is young person friendly and inclusive.

Box Careers manager Chris Gale spoke of the value of apprentices and said: “The barrier for a lot of young people with further education is they cannot earn at the same time, and if come from poverty that’s something that’s obviously a necessity for you. So apprenticeships allows young people to carry on with their education, whilst earning money and growing with their experience within work place.”

And whilst apprenticeships are about getting young people ready for employment, there is also a piece of work about getting employers ready for young people, and some of the challenges that can bring. Chris explained: “So we have had conversations and are in partnership with a number of employers, to explore the benefit to them of having young people from their local area working there, and critically fostering a young person friendly environment.”

Box Careers manager Chris Gale with former apprentice Jen, who is now in full time employment as a coach at Empire.

And for Chris this all starts with understanding where young people are at, he continued : “Understanding some of the issues and behaviours young people that we work with can present with, is a good starting point for them.

From this position we can encourage more inclusive entry practices and a nurturing culture, to ensure a higher level of retention.”

To find out more about National Apprenticeship Week here.

And if are an employer who earns to team up with Empire, then here’s more information about the Box Careers Programme.