A TEENAGER who dropped out of college in the hunt for work has described the “excellent experiences” gained during a year-long apprenticeship.
Erin Healey, 18, decided college wasn’t for her in the middle of her first year of a childcare course at English Martyrs RC School and Sixth Form College.
Erin joined the hundreds of young people in the town looking for work - but was handed a huge boost when she was given a year long placement at Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.
The former English Martyrs school student is currently in the middle of the business administration and marketing apprenticeship - and admits she is loving every minute of it.
“It’s been fantastic for me so far,” said Erin.
“When I finished college I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do next, all I knew was that I didn’t want to carry on in college.”
Erin signed up with JHP Training, a dedicated employability business centre in Raby Road, in the town, offering support to find employment for young people and adults.
And it was through that support, she was given the opportunity at Middleton Grange.
While Erin gains vital experience which will stand her in good stead for the future, nearly 1,500 of other youngsters in the town continue their search for work.
In February, 1,430 18-24 year olds in Hartlepool were claiming jobseekers allowance and 390 of those have been out of work and receiving the benefit for more than 12 months.
The Mail’s Work in Progress campaign follows the fortunes of young jobseekers in the town.
Erin, who lives with her mum, Julie Healey, 40, said her apprenticeship has given her the chance to see the business side of how the shopping centre works but also to work closely on the marketing aspect, a field she would now like to focus on in the future.
“I do enjoy the administration side of my apprenticeship but not as much as the marketing elements, which are definitely what I find most interesting,” added Erin.
“I also devote time to making relationships with the tenants, both in the centre itself and the Market Hall.
“I really like this part of my job and hopefully once I’ve passed my apprenticeship, I’ll be able to undertake a degree in marketing.
“I’m really grateful to Middleton Grange and to JHP Training for the opportunity I have had.
“The guys here have been so helpful and I feel like I’m learning so much from them.
“It would be great if the apprenticeship led to a full time job here so I need to keep working hard to make sure I do well.”