Training for a brighter future

By on 05/02/2010 in Blog


Cllr John Lines, Cabinet Member for Housing talks about his experience as an apprentice and the need for similar schemes for today’s young people.

“As National Apprenticeship Week draws to a close, I've been thinking back to when I worked as an apprentice myself.

It was just after I'd left school and it was working as a motor mechanic in Halesowen. I remember that I'd spend two evenings in night school, one day at college and the rest of my time doing on-the-job training.

I always look back on that time fondly, because working as an apprentice taught me valueable skills: discipline, responsibility, a love of work and teamwork.

In fact it put me in good stead for the rest of my life and I went on to start my own small business in motor mechanics, which I ran for 35 years.

Working as Cabinet Member for Housing, I've always encouraged similar schemes here in Birmingham because I know that often what our young people need is that opportunity, coupled with a supportive working environment, to look to their futures with confidence and purpose.


Cllr Lines with apprentices Kerry-Ann McDermott, Tom Garrity, Tom Handy and Mary Masterson

Over the last two years, I've met a number of trainees who have been working for Housing, which has taken on 276 trainees over the last two years. Prior to taking part on our scheme, these young people were not in education, employment or training.

But given the chance to work with my officers, given the right support and the chance to gain accredited qualifications alongside on-the-job training, these youngsters have prospered beyond our expectations, which has been very rewarding to see.

Their motivation has kicked into drive and after completing the scheme they've carried on in further education, including university, full time employment or further training.

One thing I am in no doubt about is the sense of independence a training scheme can give a young person, having experienced that myself when I was a young lad.

With the success of this scheme, I've made a pledge to ensure Housing will place 250 young people into similar schemes through the Future Jobs Fund. They will be working on a wide variety of schemes, which will include working across the city in schemes that support our most vulnerable people.

Often our youngsters are portrayed in the press as yobs, louts and thugs who are bored and get up to no good, but this is unfair on the majority of young people who want to do well in life and given the chance, will prove that.

I'm proud of the part Housing has played, alongside its partners, to help hundreds of young people look to their futures with confidence and long may that continue.”

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