Twenty-five apprentices have graduated from the Real Apprentice scheme, run by Mitie, the FTSE 250 strategic outsourcing company.
The ceremony, held at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London yesterday, was hosted by Ruby McGregor Smith CBE, Chief Executive of Mitie.
The Real Apprentice Scheme partners the unemployed with Mitie or its clients for an eight week business placement involving dedicated mentoring and training.
Two apprentices – Richard Williams and James Ali – were awarded £500 each for overcoming significant personal challenges to complete the scheme.
Richard, from Leyton in East London, was referred to the scheme via Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, and took up a placement with Diageo in Mitie’s catering team.
A former rough sleeper himself, Richard brought a broad range of experience to the scheme, including skills in facilities management, fire systems, catering and landscaping.
Despite facing difficult circumstances, Richard worked nights as a volunteer with Groundswell, the charity that works to enable homeless and vulnerable people take greater control of their lives, alongside completing his placement.
James, from Camberwell, who had just two weeks work experience in a kitchen to his name prior to joining the scheme, received his award for the dedication he showed working for The Brewery, with Mitie’s catering team.
The experience has been life-changing for James, and has given him the confidence to strive to fulfil his potential. As a result, he’s secured a permanent job with Mitie’s team at The Brewery.
James said: “The Real Apprentice has been a really positive experience. It’s given me the chance to improve my skills, challenge myself, and focus on my career. I’ve gained so much from it, and enjoyed the entire experience!”
Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE, Chief Executive of Mitie, said: “At Mitie we are passionate about providing people of all backgrounds with opportunities to succeed. The calibre of this year’s apprentices is outstanding and I congratulate all of them on their hard work and commitment.
“The Real Apprentice connects organisations with people who get to develop their skills and confidence, and adds real value as a result. We’re really proud of how this scheme has grown and had a positive impact on every individual and organisation involved.”
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who hosted the awards ceremony and employers day, has supported the Real Apprentice since 2006 and to date has provided placements to six apprentices on its London sites, five of whom have secured permanent jobs on site.
Ian Crowe, International Corporate Services Executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who co-presented the awards, said, “The 2013 Real Apprentice graduates are a shining example of what can be achieved when businesses collaborate with the community. We were pleased to have helped facilitate these connections and hope that this will open up new opportunities for the apprentices.
“We congratulate the award-winners, James and Richard – and all the Real Apprentices – and wish them the very best in their future careers.”
For further information, contact:
Rebecca Lloyd-Wright, Bell Pottinger Business & Brand
D: +44 20 2561 251
Notes for editors
About the Real Apprentice
Since the scheme started in 2005, 238 apprentices have progressed through the programme and over 150 apprentices have secured permanent employment as a result. The scheme now operates four times a year, in London and across the UK.
It has been recognised through multiple awards, including the BITC European Volunteering Awards in 2011, and the 2012 Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award for economic regeneration.
Apprentices receive dedicated mentoring, training and feedback throughout an eight week business placement. The scheme culminates in an employer’s day, where candidates have the chance to meet and network with potential employers, and awards ceremony to recognise the participants’ achievements.
To date, 88 apprentices have joined Mitie on completion of the scheme, and have been promoted within the organisation, or gone on to start their own businesses.
With a success rate of 75%, Mitie is now looking to its partners to help continue to expand and develop the offering available to apprentices.