A dozen green-fingered young people have started work in Liverpool’s parks and gardens.
Twelve young people aged 16 and 17 who were previously not in education, employment or training (NEET) have been recruited by Glendale Liverpool, the city council’s grounds maintenance partner.
They will take part in a 12 month pre-apprentice scheme which will give them work experience, alongside studying for a level 1 NVQ in horticulture and participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.
They will be assigned an apprentice as a mentor to offer support, advice, encouragement and act as a ‘buddy’ when they need extra support.
The scheme is funded through the Liverpool Youth Contract Grant Apprenticeship Initiative, and will see each pre-apprentice paid £3.98 an hour.
It is part of the City Deal negotiated with Government, and Liverpool is one of only three places able to allocate its own pot of money to the scheme through the Youth Contract.
Councillor Nick Small, Cabinet member for employment, enterprise and skills – pictured above with the apprentices – said: “We need to make sure every young person gets the chance to compete for a job and develop relevant skills and experience.
“I am delighted that Glendale, one of our key partners, have signed up to this initiative to give young people the chance to take the first step on to the employment ladder.
“It is absolutely vital we don’t end up with a lost generation of teenagers who aren’t given the opportunity to achieve their potential.”
The young people were chosen from an initial group of 70 that were provided with an overview of the opportunities available to them.
Glendale Liverpool have responsibility for the maintenance of the city’s parks and open spaces, cemeteries and golf courses including sports grounds and play areas totalling 14 million square metres.
Peter Cosgrove, General Manager of Glendale Liverpool, said: “We are really proud of our apprenticeship programme which is helping bring on a new generation of staff with horticulture skills.
“Over the last five years of the partnership, we have introduced 35 trainees to the organisation, including young people who have come from a care leaver background.
“This is the next step, as we take young people on and provide them with the support necessary to be in a position to secure a five year apprenticeship programme with Glendale Liverpool.”
The cost of being NEET from 16-18 years old is estimated to cost the public purse around £56,000.
Businesses interested in offering apprenticeships as part of the Liverpool Youth Contract Apprenticeship Grant Initiative can find out more by emailing email@example.com or calling 0151 233 2842.