CXK Helps Kickstart Young People’s Careers

05th November 2018

young chef, cookingAs European Vocational Skills Week starts, we reflect on the impact of our vocational skills enhancement programmes on Kent’s young people.

At CXK, we deliver a range of skills enhancement programmes, designed to help 16-25 year olds, particularly those not in education, employment or training (NEET), to develop the vocational skills and confidence to progress into sustained education or employment. In the past year alone, 380 Kent young people have benefitted from CXK’s vocational programmes, which include Elevate and the Prince’s Trust Team Programme, with 80% having gone into a job, education or training as a result.

As part of our skills development programmes, we work in close partnership with a range of local employers to place young people into work placements tailored to their interests, in order to help them to build relevant experience they need to take those all-important next steps into further education, training or employment.

CXK’s Prince’s Trust Team programme, for example, is a 12 week programme designed to help unemployed and vulnerable young people in the local area to gain skills and find work, apprenticeships or return to education. As part of the programme, the young people benefit from a two week work experience placement tailored to their area of interest, as well as benefitting from a mentor, and skills building workshops such as CV writing and interview preparation, to get them ‘work ready’. Our Elevate programme, specifically designed for 16-25 year olds who do not hold one or both Maths and English at GCSE level 4 or above, also focuses heavily on the building of vocational skills, with participants benefitting from part-time work placements in their a field of interest.

Jack Benham, 22 from Canterbury, is just one of the many young people for whom CXK’s vocational work placement programmes have led to positive outcomes; “When I started CXK’s Prince’s Trust Team Programme at 18, I was struggling to find a direction. I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. A couple of weeks into the programme, I discovered that I had a passion for cooking. So, when later in the programme, we sourced work experience opportunities tailored to our area of interest, I chose catering, and spent two weeks working in the kitchen of Canterbury Cathedral Hotel Lodge.

“Straight after the programme, I secured an apprenticeship with Canterbury College, and benefitted from work placements at Burger Brothers in Whitstable and in the kitchen at Simon Langton Girls School. On finishing my apprenticeship, I went on to work at Whitstable restaurant, The Oxford, before moving on to take a position working in the kitchen at The Sanctuary Group’s Canterbury care home.

“Now, at 23, I am currently the company’s youngest head chef in the country, and manage a team of five.

“The Prince’s Trust Team Programme was a really important first step for me in identifying what I wanted to do in my career, and helping me to build valuable and relevant experience and confidence to move on in that field.”

CXK currently has places available on upcoming Prince’s Trust Team programmes, which will begin in Ashford, Canterbury, Dartford, Margate and Sittingbourne on 12th November. For further information, email, call 07918 692885, or visit

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