Acacia Training’s fully funded traineeships for unemployed teenagers are now available in Staffordshire and Cheshire.
We aim to help school and college leavers who are not in education or training (NEET), and are aged 16-18. The scheme will help with a combination of one to one career coaching, confidence building, off-the-job training and a 15 – 20week part time work placement in IT, beauty or health and social care, which may lead to an apprenticeship.
In 2019 it was reported that almost 18% of young people in Stoke-on-Trent were not in employment, education or training, which is 7% higher than the national average. Across the UK, there are an estimated 792,000 young people aged 16-24 not in education or training.
To help overcome these issues in Staffordshire, Acacia Training aims to create opportunities for more than 60 young people over the next 3 months through its traineeships scheme, with possibilities to extend that further.
Trainees will complete an initial two-week Pre-Employability course before then going on to a work experience placement with a local employer two days per week.
They will also complete a minimum of a level 1 course dependent on abilities in either Beauty, Health and Social Care or IT, studying for one day per week at Acacia’s Trentham headquarters.
The project is led by Andrew Kunman and Ann Nixon at Acacia Training, who both have extensive experience of working with young people to increase their confidence and career chances.
Andrew joined Acacia Training after 22 years running his own businesses and an award-winning training business, specialising in working with teenagers who struggled to get on the career ladder. Ann is the company’s disability lead, and her role in the scheme is to ensure that any learners who may have additional needs or learning disabilities such as autism, Asperger’s, dyspraxia, dyslexia and others, get the right support as they enter the workplace for the first time.
Ann explains: “We are very keen to talk to parents, carers and relatives who have a young person at home who is losing confidence because they haven’t yet found their path after leaving school or college. They may be anxious about further education after having a difficult experience at school, or they might have found it hard to find a job or apprenticeship. They may be losing hope and feeling that lots of doors are not open to them, and their family or carers may be feeling that they don’t know how to support them with their next step.
Our job is to help by working very closely with each young person and their family, and with the employer, as well as ensuring the right support is in place from other agencies if needed.
The ultimate goal for the programme is to get each young person in to a paid apprenticeship after they complete their traineeship. What we are providing is a foot in the door with an employer, a chance to impress and find their confidence in a career they enjoy. We are here to hold their hand all the way and give them a career path – a chance to shine and realise their true value.”
Andrew adds: “As someone who ran a business for many years, I come at this from an employer’s perspective and I ensure each young person learns about how they should behave in the world of work to make themselves valued, useful, to enhance their chances of being offered an apprenticeship or finding employment at the end of the programme.
Employers want young people who can look them in the eye, think on their feet and work in a team and we ensure they are ready to do that with a two-week programme before they start the work placement. The employers we work with value our approach and have genuinely found some very good young staff as part of the scheme, who are ready to contribute to their business and just need an in-road.
We provide the opportunity, all the coaching and support they could possibly need, and the training. But then it’s over to them to seize the opportunity and make it work.”