Active Apprentices

Apprentices at Verdon St Recreation Centre
Apprentices at Verdon St Recreation Centre

Story: Liz Searle | Photos: Seraphin Nyirenda

Arriving at Verdon Street Rec I am greeted by Ayesha, the friendly and capable apprentice receptionist. A local resident, Ayesha says she enjoys “every single part” of her job, and is busy welcoming visitors and facilitating children’s activities.

I meet the New Deal funded Apprentice Area Sports Workers, Wathiq and Tom, and Nav, Apprentice Area Play Worker, in the centre’s kitchen, surrounded by the noise of Junior Club.

Each of the apprentices came to the project in a different way; Tom and Nav were encouraged to apply by Steve Edwards (Pitsmoor Adventure Playground manager) and Steve Richardson (Burngreave Community Football Worker) while Wathiq was advised by Doug Bell (Apprenticeships for All) to join the scheme.

As well as working at Verdon Street and Pitsmoor Adventure Playground, the three apprentices deliver sports coaching in local schools, working with teachers to develop students’ skills. Tom tells us about working with one of his old teachers at Byron Wood, but laughs modestly when I suggest that now he is the expert.

All three are studying for sports and play qualifications, appreciating this opportunity to “get a foot on the ladder”. Nav says, “After this year we can go and get any job, particularly in the Council, which is a good place to work.” Wathiq adds that before the apprenticeship he was finding it difficult to return to college, but is now looking forward to taking his studies further.

The lads are positive about the apprenticeships project, remarking that they feel supported and respected by the teams they work with. Personal thanks go to Doug and Lisa at Apprenticeships for All, Michala and Aislinn at Verdon Street, the Adventure Playground staff and Activity Sheffield North East Team.

Tom, Nav and Wathiq agree the best part of their job is being a “positive role model” and working in the community. All have grown up in Burngreave and have seen what can happen when young people go the wrong way in life. Nav comments, “There are kids with real talent in this area, and if you’ve got talent and a target to work towards you put the effort in.” The three discuss how they have observed how well kids work in teams.

I leave the centre convinced of their dedication and ability, feeling sure that they are bound to succeed and encourage more young people to follow their lead.

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The content on this page was added to the website by Kate Atkinson on 2007-11-30 11:10:24.
The content of the page was last modified by Lisa Harrison on 2007-11-30 18:37:05.

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