“To get a job you need experience, but to get experience you need a job.”
So says Amy, one of our apprentices here at Camphill Community Glencraig.
And this is something we totally agree with.
Which is why we took part in the NI Apprenticeship Week in February of this year. Led by the Department for the Economy, the annual week long celebration raises the profile of apprenticeships across Northern Ireland by bringing together partners including local councils, employers, universities, further education colleges and private training providers.
Working alongside Ards and North Down Borough Council and South Eastern Regional College (SERC), students are offered paid placements with local businesses to gain that invaluable experience Amy mentioned, whilst learning on the job. This compliments the lessons held in class and course work, which are also an opportunity to review and reflect on what is learnt at Glencraig.
SERC feel passionately that apprenticeships are more than just a qualification. David Core, SERC’s Apprenticeship Development Manager, believes that they’re a great career path too, with students being supported every step of the way. The aim is to make apprenticeships more accessible to the apprentice and employer.
Teaching each other
"We have to see our residents or the individuals with special needs here as our teachers…it really is the residents that show us how to relate. And that they are pushing us to do better."
Vera, Glencraig Group Leader.
As well as developing key skills, apprentices are able to build their own self confidence and experience base while allowing the residents at Glencraig to benefit from their time. Our apprentice Amy has seen the difference her support has made to our residents, helping them come out of their shell, joining new projects and workshops.
Reaching their potential
Our CEO, Paul Betts, summarises all the advantages of the schemes:
“We are also delighted to help SERC students interested in Health and Social Care to reach their potential too by learning on the job though work experience placements with us whilst making a real difference in someone’s life as part of a team. Partnering with SERC has been a positive experience which I would recommend to other employers for consideration.”
Why not head over to our Facebook page to watch our NI Apprenticeship Week video - click here.