School leaver who struggled to find a path secures employment through apprenticeship

National Apprenticeship Week is a great opportunity to highlight apprentices who have used an ABC Awards apprenticeship framework to learn, develop and secure employment.

Bobbi from London studied the ABC Awards Level 3 Diploma in Youth Work Practice, as part of an apprenticeship with YMCA George William College in November 2016. We talked with Bobbi about why she chose to do an apprenticeship and her plans for the future.

What made you decide to do the ABC Awards Level 3 Diploma in Youth Work Practice?

After leaving school I struggled to find a career path that I wanted to follow but knew I had a passion for young people. I was enrolled onto a Level 2 Childcare course at a local college and soon came to realise that I wanted to work with young people, who I could have proper conversations with, and see the impact of my work.

Growing up, I went to a youth club that empowered and encouraged me to do so much to better myself, in ways of confidence and social understandings. I grew very close to my youth workers and saw firsthand the positive effect they had on young people. After realising that youth work may be the career path for me, I enrolled onto an ABC Awards Level 1 Certificate in an Introduction to Youth Work and an ABC Awards Level 2 Award in Youth Work Practice. Soon after completing these qualifications I was given the opportunity to become an apprentice and complete the ABC Awards Level 3 Diploma in Youth Work Practice; something I am very grateful for.

How did you find the ABC Awards Level 3 Diploma in Youth Work Practice?

Yes – the Diploma has educated me about young people and working with them in ways that practical work cannot always do. I feel as though the Diploma focuses on the main areas of youth work and the units encourage you to do as much research as you can.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

At the age of 18 I had very few qualifications, and very few opportunities for work that were outside of the retail industry. I was offered an opportunity to earn a wage whilst learning, so I jumped at the offer of becoming an apprentice, where I knew the outcome would be an ABC Awards Level 3 Diploma in Youth Work Practice and a potential job.

What did you enjoy most about your apprenticeship?

I love working with young people and my apprenticeship enabled me to work face-to-face with young people on a weekly basis. This helped me with my confidence and reassured me that I was doing a good job when the coursework left me feeling stressed at times.

Is there a particular area of youth work you find most interesting?

There is a real place in my heart for working with young carers and young people who suffer from poor mental health. Growing up as a young carer myself, I am aware of the hardships these young people face, and how often they slip through the net. I feel that youth workers can play a vital role in the lives of these young people in many different settings.

Did you find your apprenticeship challenging?

At times I have found the apprenticeship workload challenging, struggling at times to balance my personal life, college work and work duties harmoniously. I have received a lot of support from my work place and from the college during my apprenticeship and feel that I would not have done as well without this additional support.

What are you doing now that you have completed your apprenticeship?

Now that I have completed my apprenticeship I have been given an extended contract at my placement to work part time. My horizons have been widened and I am now confident that I could be a part of another team within another organisation.   

Do you have any advice for people thinking about doing an apprenticeship in Youth work?

My advice to anyone thinking about doing an apprenticeship in youth work is to discover whether they have a real passion for working with young people. Volunteering in a youth club or completing an ABC Awards Level 2 Award in Youth Work could give you a real insight into what is expected from a youth worker.

I would also add that apprenticeships are an amazing opportunity to gain a qualification in something you are passionate about, while earning a wage. I was empowered by my apprenticeship, not only in a working environment but also in my personal life. I was able to earn my own money and make my own contributions.

This is a great example of how an apprentice can blossom and mature into the ‘ideal’ candidate for employment. Exploring your options, testing the water and following your passion really can pay off in an apprenticeship role. We wish Bobbie lots of luck for her future career in youth work.

To find out more information about our apprenticeship offer download our ABC Awards Apprenticeship Guide to find out how we can support you in providing high-quality apprenticeship programmes in areas like youth work. Call us today on 0115 854 1620 to find out more.

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