National Apprenticeship Week 2020: Riverside provides support to Halton resident applying for apprenticeships

Vanessa Shaw, Riverside’s Employment and Training Officer, explains how she has helped a resident in her area successfully apply for an apprenticeship, and is now developing a career working with children.

I’ve been working with Lucy a Halton resident, for almost four years. She was referred to one of my work club sessions via Halton Brook Community Centre, and held a part-time position working within the community café.

Lucy was contracted to work 16 hours per week as a café assistant, which suited her as a single parent with a young child. Each week she would work different hours depending on demand, some weeks exceeding contracted hours. This had a negative impact on her benefits which resulted in her often struggling financially on a low income. This inconsistency had a damaging effect on her finances, causing unnecessary distress and anxiety.

Through the work club sessions, I worked closely with Lucy so that she could understand the best way forward. Lucy had aspirations of developing a long-term career in social care, education or the charity sector, but felt she did not have the qualifications, skills or experience to do so. Lucy also had concerns over her ability to re-train, especially with being a single parent on a low income she thought she would struggle to complete higher qualifications on a low wage.

I supported Lucy by offering careers advice and support in her job search, focusing on the many routes and pathways to her career choices. Lucy was interested in part-time funded learning and apprenticeships. I gave support by helping with CV, writing the cover letter and providing professional advice in how to apply for suitable vacancies. We both found an apprenticeship vacancy as a children’s centre assistant and from there I gave dedicated application writing support, ensuring they provided suitable evidence to meet the person specification, as she had little experience in this field. I helped her elaborate on the role working as a café assistant such as dealing with vulnerable families in the community.

Lucy’s application was successful and she was offered an interview for the post, which had received over 100 applications. I provided support on one-to-one interview techniques, gave professional and constructive interview technique advice, creating potential interview questions based on the person specification. I’m pleased to say that Lucy was delighted to be offered the apprenticeship based on such a successful interview. The position is a full-time post which will give her the financial stability she needed, and she is in a better position with regular weekly hours. She now has great potential to develop a career in her chosen industry.

20% of the support we offer is to non-Riverside residents who live in the neighbourhoods where we offer our services.