I was so happy when I got my first job with a small design and advertising company in the West End – and my first pay packet. I remember feeling so grown up as I caught the tube to work along with the rest of the world. That sense of somewhere to be and something to do has always been incredibly important to me – as it is to everyone.
And that sums up why we work. It pays the bills, gives us purpose and fulfilment, and provides security for our long term futures.
That’s why it’s particularly important for young people leaving schools or universities to have options available to them. We have so many talented and ambitious young adults here in Haringey, and should be doing all we can to give them the best chance to succeed – which will benefit our economy too.
But – it’s not long since youth unemployment was rising fast under Labour, leaving so many young people without the opportunity to get on in life.
Our focus on this is working. Here in Hornsey and Wood Green, youth unemployment has fallen from 7.1% in May 2010 to 5.1% now – and 530 new apprenticeships have been created since 2010 too.
But we want to go even further. That’s why I decided to put words into action, and hosted an apprenticeship event at Haringey Civic Centre, in tandem with Wood Green Jobcentre plus. The aim was to match up employers looking for apprentices with young people looking for apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships are a great way to kick start a career. They take between one and four years to complete and combine practical training in a job with study. That means you get paid to study and learn a trade, whilst also being able to make contacts in an industry.
It was a really fantastic afternoon. The event was attended by 18 organisations – including Barclays, Tottenham Hotspurs and the National Apprenticeship Company – and packed with over 130 of Haringey’s young people, who were keen to find out more about the hundreds of apprenticeship opportunities on offer.
Gordon Birtwistle MP – the Government Apprenticeship Ambassador – was also present to discuss the value of apprenticeships and to meet the young people and companies.
I will be keeping in touch with the people and organisations who attended so we can track how many apprenticeships have been created as a result. I’ll also certainly be hosting more of these events in the future.
In the meantime, if you or someone you know wants any further information about apprenticeships, just email me on [email protected] and ask!