Each year, when recruitment opens, we receive many more applicants than we have places, demonstrating the demand for truly accessible and inclusive apprentice-style opportunities. Despite the numbers of applicants, we aim to offer everyone the chance to attend an in-person information day, where potential applicants can see one of our social enterprises, meet some of our staff and existing apprentices, and get support to complete an application form. We then invite applicants to interview/practical assessment and give constructive written feedback to all attendees, so they understand what strengths and areas to work on we observed. Our successful applicants get valuable on the job training, developing skills to be an effective team member with us and in their future careers.
We offer wraparound support to our apprentices during their time with us any beyond- towards the end of the academic year, apprentices are introduced to staff from our Employment Team who work with them to prepare for the completion of their NVQ and get ready to apply for paid roles in mainstream employment. This includes workshops, 1:1s, interview preparation and support to attend interviews, advice and guidance to employers interested in offering them opportunities, and in-work support including job coaching and disability awareness training.
Naomi is former Unity Works apprentice. Here, she looks back at her time as an apprentice and the skills she developed as part of her time on the programme:
How did your time as an apprentice help you achieve your goals?
My time as an apprentice helped me achieve my goals by giving me my level 2 qualification and giving me industry level experience in a supportive environment. Without my time as an apprentice, I wouldn’t be working where I am today as general assistant at Barlett Mitchell.
What did you enjoy about your time as an apprentice?
Meeting new people, making new friends and being in the world of work.
What else would you like to do in your career?
I would like to stay in my current job and learn new skills such as a barista, I would like to achieve a level 3 in food safety and health and safety. I want to take on new responsibilities and I would like to become an assistant manager.