As European Vocational Skills Week takes place, 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 who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). Those programmes help them to build the vocational skills and confidence to progress into sustained education or employment. In the past year alone, more than 1,700 Kent young people have benefitted from CXK’s vocational programmes; which include the NEET Support Service, Elevate and the Prince’s Trust Team Programme.
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. This helps them to build the experience they need to take their 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. During the programme, participants benefit from a two week work experience placement tailored to their career of interest. They also benefit from skills building workshops such as CV writing and interview preparation, to get them ‘work ready’. CXK’s Elevate programme, meanwhile, is specifically designed for 16-25 year olds who do not hold Maths and/or English at GCSE level 4 or above. Elevate focuses heavily on the building of English and Maths skills, as well as work experience and vocational skills.
Jack Benham, 22 from Canterbury, is just one young person for whom CXK’s 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. I then spent two weeks working in the kitchen of Canterbury Cathedral Hotel Lodge.
“Straight after the programme, I secured an apprenticeship with Canterbury College. I also 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. I then moved 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. It helped me to build valuable and relevant experience and confidence to move on in that field.”
For further information on the vocational skills programmes and services offered by CXK, take a look at our Young People’s Services.