THREE self-confessed rebellious teenagers who lost interest in school are getting ready to graduate as apprentices after being given a second chance at education.
Their lives have been turned around by Bassetlaw Training Agency, which gave them the opportunity to train for careers in childcare.
Chloe Jackson, 20, is quite candid about the kind of teenager she was.
“I went to Valley school and was quite headstrong. We used to get bored and hang out on the streets drinking,” she said.
Her friend Paige Newton, 20, who went to Portland school, puts it simply. “We were teenage rebels. I feel like I’ve been given responsibility and have grown up now.” She is now working part-time at Ryton Park school.
They are working towards their level three qualification in childcare, the culmination of which will be a graduation ceremony at Nottingham Trent University in January.
“I never thought I would be wearing a cap and gown,” said Chloe, who works fulltime at Norbridge Academy. “I love working with children, it’s what I always wanted to do, and I’m earning my own money. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”
“I didn’t like school but I would say to kids in school to work hard while you have the chance.”
Their friend Melissa Parry, 21, is also studying level three childcare and has a placement at Rainbows Pre-school in Carlton.
“I went to college but didn’t settle, I prefer it here because you can talk to the people about other things and they understand, whereas I couldn’t talk to the tutors at college,” she said.
BTA, on Cheapside, is run by managing director Sylvia Lilley, who has worked there since 1978 and can reel off any number of success stories of people who started out with a placement organised by the agency and are now in good jobs.
But times are tough and a lot of employers are reluctant to get involved in apprenticeships at the moment.
Sylvia said: “I would like to appeal for more local employers to take on apprentices. They can be in childcare, administration, retail, any kind of customer service, and teaching assistants.”
“We need to be able to place these young people and there are a lot of benefits for employers.”
BTA has taken apprentices on itself, one of whom is Kelly Coulthard, 18, who works on reception.
She said: “I really enjoy it here and I’m doing my NVQ and key skills as well and then I’ll be doing level three.”
Training manager Rachel Hawley said employers pay the apprentice £2.60 an hour for a minimum of 30 hours a week.
“The apprentices do four days in their placement and one day here doing classroom based theory,” she said.
“We also do foundation learning which is tailored to an individual’s needs while they work towards vocational qualifications. They spend a day and a half at BTA and a couple of days in a placement on a voluntary basis.”
They can also provide childcare through their Lilliput Nursery, which is close to the BTA offices.
BTA provides opportunities for young people aged 16 to 24. Find out more on 477669.