4 teens on how they’re learning a trade and paving way for future

Want to learn a trade on the job and get paid?

Redcar & Cleveland Council offers an award-winning jobs scheme and is looking for new apprentices to join.

The council’s apprenticeship scheme has thrived through the covid-19 pandemic and the authority is preparing to take on more jobseekers.

Read more: New covid-19 testing centre opening near seafront will replace existing site

“I was on an art course at college, but it wasn’t for me, and I started looking for something where I could progress and get to work.

“My mum wasn’t into me getting an apprenticeship at first, but now she knows more, she’s really pleased,” said Mackenzie Garbutt, 17.

The Redcar teen, who grew up in Brotton, is one of the council’s youngest apprentices.

She works on the roads and in the vehicle works yards as a civil engineering apprentice, in what was once a male-dominated environment.

Mackenzie Garbutt, 17, civil engineering apprentice
Mackenzie Garbutt, 17, civil engineering apprentice
(Image: Stuart Boulton)

“I was really surprised at how many females were here.

“It wasn’t an issue for me anyway, but it shows how things have changed,” Mackenzie said.

She is on a three-year apprenticeship and is spending her wages on getting a motorbike licence.

Ethan Thompson, also 17, is an apprentice horticulturalist who is part of the team ensuring the borough looks good while protecting the wildlife and nature.

He said: “I love the work and it’s a great team, but everyone warns me it might be a bit tougher in the winter months but, for me, it’s a great way to get some good qualifications and a trade.”

Ethan Thompson, 17, horticulturalist apprentice
Ethan Thompson, 17, horticulturalist apprentice
(Image: Stuart Boulton)

Despite the pandemic, the apprenticeship scheme has thrived with 2.3% of all council employees on an apprenticeship programme.

18-year-old Courtney Price is taking a Level 3 NVQ in business administration.

She grew up in Skelton but now lives in Redcar, and has enjoyed her role which involves supporting the community.

Courtney said: “I love seeing all the businesses, organisations and community groups within the borough that make our communities a better place.

Courtney Price, 18, Level 3 NVQ business administration apprentice
Courtney Price, 18, Level 3 NVQ business administration apprentice
(Image: Stuart Boulton)

“It’s been brilliant, I love the work and there’s great people in the team and good people to be around.

“I’m doing a Level 3 NVQ in business administration which might be a passport to other things, even university.

“I like the idea of working and earning a wage while studying and getting a qualification and it has meant I can get my own home.”

Louis Bellhouse, 18, is also in business administration.

The Redcar teen gained his A-Levels at Prior Pursglove, Guisborough, but then found himself without employment.

Louis was supported by the council’s Youth Employment Initiative team and they helped him get the right clothes and travel costs for interviews.

He now helps others find employment by supporting a team at Grangetown Employment and Training Hub.

Louis Bellhouse, 18, business administration apprentice
Louis Bellhouse, 18, business administration apprentice
(Image: Stuart Boulton)

Louis said: “When I got taken on as an apprentice I was over the moon.

“The only work I could find before was washing pots in a pub.

“Now I have a chance of a career.

“You get a lot of support and I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone.”

The apprenticeship roles can be carried out by people of any age, with current council apprentices aged between 17 and 40.

The minimum age to apply is 16 and there isn’t an upper age limit.

Gary Taylor, 36, is an apprentice horticulturalist along with Ethan.

Gary Taylor, 36, is an apprentice horticulturalist
Gary Taylor, 36, is an apprentice horticulturalist
(Image: Stuart Boulton)

He was originally from New Markse, now living in Redcar, and is one of a number of mature apprentices on the scheme.

Gary previously worked as a plasterer and electrician, but when he found himself out of work, he took on the apprenticeship.

He said: “I had worked with the housing association Beyond Housing doing similar work and enjoyed it.

“This was a good opportunity and I decided to grab it.”

There are over 12 positions being made available, with opportunities ranging from plumbing and electrical, IT and business administration which involves supporting various teams.

The authority pays above average, £5 per hour or £185 a week for the first year, before apprentices are moved on to the national minimum wage.

The scheme won the national Municipal Journal Award for Transforming Lives and further information about the council’s apprenticeships is available here.

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Cabinet member for resources, Councillor Glyn Nightingale said: “I’d like to congratulate all our apprentices and everyone involved in what is a very successful scheme at the council which is designed to give people a chance to not only get into employment but then thrive for years to come.

“I was very pleased to see some of our apprentices grabbing a second chance when they’re looking for a new beginning and it’s worth remembering age is no barrier to being accepted on an apprenticeship.

“Everyone deserves that opportunity to fulfil their aspirations and an apprenticeship is an excellent way to do just that.”

The council’s Youth Employment Initiative scheme provides extra support to people ages between 16 and 29 who are unemployed and not in education or training.

Find out more by emailing YEI@redcar-cleveland.gov.uk or calling 01642 771246.

Teesside Live – Redcar and Cleveland