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Successful launch of MITIE's Real Apprentice programme

Published 12th April, 2010 by Neil Nixon

Successful launch of MITIE's Real Apprentice programme

A new programme called the Real Apprentice has successfully launched, helping the long term unemployed and disabled members of the community back into the workplace. The first intake of apprentices has already seen success with many of the candidates now in employment, having previously been unemployed for at least six months.

The programme, launched in August 2009, was an adaption on the first Real Apprentice. The new scheme has now grown to help the long term unemployed and members of the community who have mental, physical or cognitive disabilities, and saw MITIE partner with JobCentrePlus (London & City East) and the London Employer Accord (LEA). These partnerships meant that, this year, the participants were able to keep their full benefits whilst on the programme, as well as receiving a travel and clothing allowance.

Following a two week screening and training process, the apprentices completed a ten week placement within various departments in MITIE.

During their placements, the apprentices participated in a variety of tasks ensuring candidates not only gained new skills but invaluable employee references which gave them the confidence to succeed in a working environment.

“As a people organisation, nurturing our employees to achieve the best they possibly can is a core part of our ethos,” said Ruby McGregor- Smith, CEO, MITIE. “In the coming months, we will be rolling out the Real Apprentice to other areas of the UK enabling more people to become involved and giving them the chance to shine.”

This year the scheme has culminated in an awards ceremony to crown this year’s Real Apprentice. On Wednesday 3 March 2010 the awards ceremony was held to announce the winner of the Real Apprentice and to celebrate the achievements of all the apprentices. Jim Knight, employment minister, spoke at the event, which was held in the Communities and Local Government building. James Ritchie was crowned the winner of the programme, receiving £500 as a prize. Since completing the programme Ritchie now works for MITIE working on their total facilities management contract at the National Audit Office.

Jim Knight, MP, said: “I want to congratulate MITIE on the Real Apprentice scheme and its achievements in giving young disabled people the opportunity to get on the career ladder. With a quarter of the candidates now in employment this is a real success story for disabled people and the long term unemployed.”

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