By Daniel Hunter
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg heard from apprentices about ways of getting more young people involved in community work as part of a visit to the Skills Show, the largest skills and careers fair in the UK.
The group of apprentices who competed in the Brathay Apprentice Challenge 2013, the official search for the apprentice team of the year, provided the Deputy Prime Minister with recommendations on how to increase the number of young people involved in community activities.
According to previously unreleased research from ICM, 47% of young people are involved in activities to help their local communities, but more needs to be done to tackle the barriers to young people getting involved in their communities.
To address the barriers highlighted in the research, the apprentices recommended to the Deputy Prime Minister that the government supports — or introduces:
· A nationally recognised certificate on completion of volunteering for community work
· More recognition from employers and universities for volunteering in recruitment
· A campaign to tackle the stigma behind community projects being uncool or irrelevant, backed by influential people.
Sam Ogle, from Brathay Apprentice Challenge 2013 winners Innovia Films, said: “It has been a great opportunity to meet with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and discuss how to get more young people involved in community projects. It was good to see that the Deputy Prime Minister had such an interest in the future of Apprenticeships. He took in everything that we had to say about our work in the community and how things could change to get more young people involved.”
The event marked the formal opening of nominations for the Brathay Apprentice Challenge 2014 (#BAC14), supported by the National Apprenticeship Service.
Now in its third year, the Challenge tests apprentices on their team building, leadership, logistical and communications abilities in a series of challenges including awareness raising and community projects.
The Challenge focuses on offering an enhanced Apprenticeship, developing skills like team building, leadership and communications — many of which are found in the top positions within business.
Godfrey Owen, Chief Executive of organisers, Brathay Trust, said: “The Brathay Apprentice Challenge gives teams the chance to push themselves to their limits while learning the key skills needed in employment and educating young people on the benefits of apprenticeships from their own experiences. The skills learned by the teams through the community projects and profile raising are not specific to The Challenge, they are transferrable and very much sought-after by employers.
“The Deputy Prime Minister was really impressed by the apprentices during the presentation. He realised the need to get more young people involved in their community and has asked the apprentices to send a written confirmation of their recommendations for him to fully review.”
The recommendations presentation was followed by a Q&A session with over 150 young people that discussed issues that affect them and their futures.
Sophie Davis, 19, a business administration apprentice at South and City College Birmingham who attended the Q&A with the Deputy Prime Minister, said: "Today was a unique opportunities for someone like me to meet and question Nick Clegg. I think it's excellent that he wants to work closely with schools and parents to spread the word about the range and extent of Apprenticeships."
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