A council project designed to transform the lives of young people picked up a royal award at St James’ Palace in London.
Redcar and Cleveland Council is the only local authority in the country to achieve the prestigious Princess Royal Training Awards Standard 2019.
The recognition comes following the relaunch of the council’s apprenticeship programme which has supported some of our young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), young people in receipt of Job-Seekers Allowance, including the most vulnerable people, those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and young people in our care.
Judges were particularly impressed by the fact that the programme has seen local NEET young people taking part in the programme rise from 9% to 22%, and 76% of those recruited in 2018-19 were under the age of 25.
Many apprentices have been successful in gaining permanent roles, future-proofing the council for years to come.
The young people that the council supported have told their stories about how the apprenticeship programme helped them turn their lives around.
One young woman supported by the team was Jade Green, 24, of Redcar, who explained she was sleeping on sofas and struggling to find work before being taken on by the council.
Today she has progressed still further and is a Senior Libraries and Customer Services Representative at the Council and has commenced a degree, supported by the council.
She said: “I wasn’t a very pleasant teenager and because of that I moved out when I was 16. Without being too cheesy, securing an apprenticeship has literally changed my life. I was sleeping on people’s sofas and sleeping in a walk-in wardrobe next to a leaking radiator and in the six years I’ve managed to buy my own house.
“I’ve got married and I genuinely think without the apprenticeship role I would not have been able to have done what I’ve done now.”
Shaun Sedgewick, A Motor Vehicle Fitter Apprentice at the Council, said: “My foster carers told me that there was an apprenticeship available and I thought that I would really enjoy this type of job.
“My apprenticeship has impacted on my life very positively; it has improved by confidence, my mental and physical health and I think it has overall made me a better person.”
Councillor Mary Lanigan, Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council, said: “It is a tremendous honour for the Council to receive this recognition and we are overjoyed.
“We are absolutely committed to providing brighter futures for our children and young people, including some of the most vulnerable in our society.
“Our programme gives people the relevant skills, knowledge and experience to ensure there is opportunity to secure paid employment. We have some fantastic people working with us here at the council.
“We have a dedicated team of officers within this organisation who have worked tirelessly for the young people of our area, and I would like to congratulate them for their efforts.”
The council is among 48 organisations which have been recognised by HRH Princess Anne and City and Guilds Group, the global skills development body.