Published: 00:01, 17 May 2014
A pilot apprenticeship scheme run in Gravesend last year was so successful that it has been recommissioned.
All the young men who took part were long-term unemployed.
Seven of the 10 participants are now in work.
Three of them were offered full-time roles at the council while another four are working at various businesses, including B&Q.
Aged between 17 and 20, the apprenticeship gave each person an NVQ qualification, weekly wages, taught key skills in grounds maintenance and provided support in writing CVs and applying for jobs.
The project, called Team Green, was run as a partnership between Gravesham council, charity Groundwork South and the Job Centre.
The participants spent a year working on a range of projects with the Environmental Services department.
They took on tasks including clearing the lake in Gordon Gardens to building new fishing platforms to refurbishing street furniture.
They also worked on maintaining the Windmill Hill Memorial Gardens in time for the annual Remembrance Day event, caring for the grounds at the cemeteries and replacing gates and fencing.
Apprentice Jordan Jarvis said: “I’ve really enjoyed the more demanding jobs such as installing the fishing bays at the Prom and important jobs such as repainting Windmill Hill Memorial in time for Remembrance Day Service. It’s been a great experience.”
As a result of these successes the council and Groundwork South are now recruiting for another group of apprentices to join Team Green for the next year.
The apprenticeship had a 100% completion rate, 50% higher than the national average.
Groundwork’s Chris Hoddinott said: “The apprentice programme offered these lads their first real paid jobs but also support to develop skills which they can use to start their careers and build new friendships.
“These guys were responsible for a number of important projects in the borough and they all rose to the challenge.
“Working in public areas is challenging but they have seen first-hand the different they have made to the borough. We’re really looking forward to working with a new group of people this year.”
Applicants for the next scheme need to be aged between 16 and 18 and live in Gravesham.
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