Anfield and Everton apprentices celebrate success
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
A group of young people are celebrating a new career and a new opportunity to improve their own communities, thanks to an apprenticeship scheme in Liverpool.
Housing group Regenda launched its search for 13 young superstars several months ago, and has now chosen its new apprentices.
Each of those selected will not only get the chance to pick a career path to specialise in, but also to devise, design and deliver a community project that will make a difference to their neighbourhoods, Anfield and Everton.
One of those picked, Sean Stapleton, 20, said: “I was over the moon – I wanted it so desperately. I never did well at school, I was smart enough but I had nerve damage to my hand and just couldn’t deal with the academic side if things.
“Since I left I’ve kept myself busy, doing courses and bar work, but this is the chance I have been waiting for. I want to specialise in support work, helping people who have drug and alcohol issues, or mental health problems.
"That’s something that needs to be tackled – all it takes is one person with those problems, and if they don’t get the support they need, it can cause so much trouble for the entire neighbourhood. Moving them on isn’t the answer – helping them is, and that’s what I’d like to do.”
Sean, one of six children, lives on the Rockfield estate in the heart of Anfield, an area undergoing vast amounts of change and regeneration.
He added: “Regeneration brings a lot of good, but sometimes bad – and although there is a great sense of community round here, it’s an area that’s obviously got its problems. If I could wave a magic wand, I’d have a load of things for the kids to do, so they’re not roaming round. And I’d tackle burglaries and anti-social behaviour – there are a lot of empty houses here and it attracts all kinds of trouble, messing things up for decent people.”
The two-year scheme will allow each of the apprentices to spend two days per week training in various personal development skills and carrying out placements with a range of employers, and the rest of their time devising and delivering local community projects in Anfield and Everton.
Rebecca Barker, 18, also from Anfield, had been planning to sit GCSEs at North Liverpool Academy and go on to college, but her plans were put on hold after the death of her mother.
She now lives with her father and two older brothers, and can’t wait to get started as a Regenda apprentice, hoping to specialise in photography.
She said: “I love the fact that I get to go and train in something I love, and do it in a way that will make a real difference round here. People tend to focus on the bad points about Anfield, but there are some lovely communities and houses, and some really decent people.
“But there are problems, with crime and vandalism. There is empty land and empty houses because of the regeneration, and that attracts the wrong kind. There are kids running up and down the street at 11 o’clock at night – they’re only two feet tall but they are swearing away!
“I think we need more facilities for young people, but also we need to find a way of offering things they are interested in, and actually getting them involved. I can’t wait to get started.”
The final 13 were chosen after an initial recruitment day at Liverpool Hope University, and a residential in the Peak District where they all took part in a range of activities that tested their team work, creativity, and problem solving skills.
Steve Newsham, regional director and project lead on the Young Apprentice Scheme, said: “I attended the residential with 23 young people and it was almost impossible to choose the final 13, but we are delighted with our young apprentices. We’ve found some brilliant young people who we are sure will be embarking on great careers, and also making a real difference to their own community.”