First apprentices graduate from pioneering Islington training scheme

Front row, kneeling down: Jamie Huckle, Jack Kelly, Shane Lally, Alfie Wright, Stephen Hunt, Jake La

Front row, kneeling down: Jamie Huckle, Jack Kelly, Shane Lally, Alfie Wright, Stephen Hunt, Jake Lambert. Back row: Louie Neumann, Charlie Bradley, Tarkan Talip, Sam Springer, Jack Morris, Chairman of the Islington Business Board, James Marr, The Mayor of Islington, Yusaf Hassan, Cllr Catherine West, Leader of Islington Council, Nathan Pilgrim, Kevin McLoughlin, MD of K&M McLoughlin Decorating, Michael Taylor, Albert Jusufi, Charlie Bradley and Freddie Cooper. - Credit: Archant

A pioneering scheme that gets youngsters ready for work by teaching the value of hard graft unleashed its first graduates on Monday.

An apprentice learning how to hang wall paper

An apprentice learning how to hang wall paper - Credit: Archant

K&M McLoughlin Training, praised in Nick Clegg’s Lib Dem conference closing speech on Saturday, was set up in October to get 16 to 19-year-olds ready for the building site via a no-nonsense five week course.

And of the first 16 alumni from the scheme, who collected certificates at a ceremony this week, 10 have already found a full-time apprenticeship or a 12 week work trial.

The school is the brainchild of businessman Kevin McLoughlin, who heads up a multi-million painting and decorating firm despite leaving school – the former Saint William of York Secondary in Gifford Street, Islington – at 15 with no qualifications.

He said: “It’s incredible. The commitment these lads of shown is great.

“All this you hear about British kids not wanting to work and being lazy is just not true from what I’ve seen. They turn up at 7.30am and put their phones and music away. I’m really proud of them, it’s just a shame we couldn’t get them all jobs.

“And to have Nick Clegg speak about us in his conference speech was great. We were the only non political people he mentioned, which was really nice.”

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Mr Mcloughin got permission to convert a vacant warehouse in Brewery Road, Holloway, into a training centre back in September.

Islington Council own the building have been instrumental in getting the training off the ground.

Cllr Catherine West, leader of the council, said: ““We want to make Islington a fairer place where all young people have the chance to succeed – something that this current economic climate is making increasingly difficult. That’s why we’re committed to working closely with local businesses like K&M McLoughlin.”

Now, after the first wave of graduates has got off to a flying start, the scheme is rolling out to other youngsters in Islington.

It’s completely free to any 16 to 24 in the borough and there is no criteria for getting on the course other than being ready to roll-up your sleeves and get to work.

For information, call 0207 7006454 or on 02079741381.