Meeting the new apprentice

Head of service, information, advice, learning and skills, Carol Halford, right, with executive support apprentice Nathan Gaskell
Head of service, information, advice, learning and skills, Carol Halford, right, with executive support apprentice Nathan Gaskell

KNOWING the difficulties youngsters face in gaining employment, Wigan Council has pledged to help a total of 40 youngsters by offering apprenticeships.

Towards the end of last year, the council took on the first 20 young hopefuls and will provide opportunities for a further 20 this October.

One young adult to gain from the scheme is Nathan Gaskell, 19, of Winstanley, who has already enjoyed a number of roles since he started last autumn.

He has worked in the information and advice learning and skills department; integrated community equipment services; Wigan Skills Shop and is now an executive support officer for the heads of service and directors, where he has an administrative role.

His next post will be in business intelligence, analysing data and working in IT.

He said: “Last year I did an IT apprenticeship, but the company decided not to take me on so I was on Job Seekers’ Allowance and the council gave me an interview.

“There were quite a lot of candidates, but there was around 20 places, so I knew I had to show my worth.

“I informed the panel that I had a lot of IT experience and needed some admin work under my belt.

“I have found the scheme really useful. My previous apprenticeship involved six months learning and six months placement, but this involves being in work more, with learning one day a week.

“This is a great opportunity for young people to get into the scheme and into a full-time or part-time job.

“As I am now working at the council and moving around departments, I have a good knowledge and I feel confident that if any permanent jobs came up, I could gain future employment.

“I have already had a few interviews and three apprentices have already been given full-time roles.”

Nathan’s apprenticeship will last until October, with the chance of an extension.

Carol Halford, head of service for information, advice, learning and skills at Wigan Council, said: “We work with a number of work-based learning providers across the borough to promote apprenticeships and we work with Wigan Careers Service to talk to pupils in schools.

“We cover a range of different roles across the council, in business administration, hospitality and catering, and print and throughout the year, we continue to support the youngsters in their roles.

“The feedback has been great and the apprentices are really enjoying what they are doing.”

l See tomorrow’s Evening Post for details on the work staff at Rosebridge High School have been doing to encourage apprenticeships.