Rising tuition fees and low pay for UK graduates has led to a rapid rise in apprenticeships, as young people seek an alternative to academic qualifications. However, children in care face unique challenges with disruptions at home and school and is reflected in the grades they achieve, which can then hamper their entry criteria for apprenticeships. Therefore, to level the playing field, when an employer considers whether to take on a disadvantaged young person, their potential to complete the course and do well should be taken into account, along with their entry qualifications.
WE DO. Print, a social enterprise committed to give disadvantaged young people an opportunity to learn new skills and become ‘work-ready’, enabling them to turn a corner and change their lives. Established by husband and wife team, Symon Bye, a former teacher at an inner city school and Simone Hindmarch-Bye, they take on 40 young people on board annually. They also run a ‘Trainee of the Year Award’ to help inspire these young people and this years’ winner is Samuel Jackson, who wins a £2,000 bursary to further help his studies.
Sadly, Jackson’s background story is all too familiar. He had a chaotic lifestyle, lacking support, purpose and direction. All he needed was an opportunity to break the cycle of decline. Today, Jackson’s life has changed—he is now passing on his new skills and mentoring the latest intake of volunteers. The judges were impressed by his personal journey and the way he seized the opportunity to turn his life around by working with WE DO. Print. He joined the first ever intake of the organisation’s No Limits programme in May 2015. He then accepted a full time paid role as a Trainee Print Operative.
By joining WE DO. Print, Jackson’s personal circumstances have improved, including his professional outlook. He says, “Each day I feel my self-belief growing, and I’m excited about my future. WE DO Print has transformed my life. I now live in a house with my partner and we have a daughter. I know that I have an exciting print career ahead that will enable me to provide for my family.” WE DO Print is incredibly proud of Jackson and what he has achieved, and importantly, that they have been able to play a part in his progress.
In the 18 months since WE DO. Print was established, it has become a viable business in its own right, providing a reliable service to its corporate customers who want to enhance their own social credentials, as every £1 of print spend equates to £4.87 of social benefit for the community. Ethical practice is becoming increasingly important within the print supply chain and WE DO. Print is a leading example of social enterprise at its best. For some young people, just getting their foot in the door can be a real challenge. Government, business and the third sector need to work together to ensure the most vulnerable aren’t locked out of the job market.
Photo Credit: WE DO. Print