James, 20, is becoming set for life thanks to an 8.30pm emergency call from a careers adviser telling him about a job, which led to an apprenticeship.
“I got a phone call at 8.30pm on a Monday telling me there was a job at the council. I rang in the morning, was invited for an interview and got the job,” he said.
James joined Rushmoor Borough Council as an apprentice three years ago. He started a Cleaning & Support Services (Level 2) Apprenticeship straight away and gained the qualification in 2011. James was then promoted to maintenance technician and is now helping other young apprentices with their training.
He said: “I always wanted to do a manual outdoor job and this seemed perfect. I haven’t just learnt work skills during my apprenticeship but gained life skills that prepared me for full-time work.
“My job involves maintaining and checking anything that is council-owned, ranging from repairing and installing street furniture, graffiti removal, environmental health and assisting with events. I’m also involved with dealing with emergency situations such as flooding and snow.
“This apprenticeship has given me confidence to carry out the job on my own and tackle any issues that arise. Since completing the apprenticeship I’ve been promoted to full-time maintenance technician where I now help with the supervision and training of new apprentices and act as their mentor”
His council bosses also enrolled him on an electrical course at West London Training College. James hopes to become an electrician with the council when he qualifies.
Becoming qualified in a trade will give James security – a world away from his plight on leaving school. “For six months I had no job and not a lot else,” said James. “Now, I’ve got my own van and team with the council. I’m helping two apprentices with their NVQs and I’ve got a future.”