Colleagues finding their feet thanks to Islington Council’s apprenticeship scheme

Maria Frawley, 34, from Islington Council’s Highbury repairs team

Maria Frawley, 34, from Islington Councils Highbury repairs team - Credit: Archant

A pair of colleagues have found their feet thanks to Islington Council’s apprenticeship scheme.

Shane Hannon, 20, from Islington Council’s Highbury repairs team

Shane Hannon, 20, from Islington Councils Highbury repairs team - Credit: Archant

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, the council released figures yesterday revealing that 400 people living across the borough have been supported into apprenticeship positions between 2012 and 2016.

The local authority works closely with Islington businesses to create a range of apprenticeships in a variety of industries – from carpentry and housing repairs to theatres and arts venues.

After struggling in her previous job, Maria Frawley left her role working with young people, and longed for a change of career.

Keen to learn household maintenance skills, a council newsletter offering free DIY courses for women captured her imagination.

The 34-year-old was sceptical about her prospects as an older candidate and surprised to learn the council’s apprenticeships were not exclusive to younger people.

Now, six months into her apprenticeship, Maria is working towards her plumbing and heating NVQ level 2 qualification and wants to specialise in gas and heating maintenance later on.

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“I’ve always loved learning,” she said. “The prospect of getting another qualification makes me so happy.”

Also reaping the rewards of the council’s scheme is Maria’s Highbury repairs team colleague Shane Hannon.

Six months into his two-year apprenticeship, the 20-year-old is close to finishing his NVQ Level 2 in plumbing – a qualification that usually takes two years to obtain.

Shane has dyslexia and struggled at school but started plumbing at college at the age of 16.

“If you haven’t got good GCSEs, an apprenticeship is a great way to get your foot in the door,” he said.

Four years later and Shane is not content to leave his old GCSEs behind him. Instead, he’s voluntarily retaking English and maths, as well as ICT, because he wants to achieve higher grades.

While it can be difficult managing work and family life – Shane has a two-year old son – he’s working hard towards his aspiration of becoming a plumber and gas engineer.

He added “My dream to own my own company, but for now I’m just happy to work for Islington Council. It feels like you’re helping the community. My tutor’s taught me a lot.”

For more information on becoming an apprentice e-mail

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