A Line Manager's Perspective - NSPCC
Elaine Gibson at NSPCC has been line manager to three apprentices from City Gateway.
How did you first hear about City Gateway?
I was sitting on the tube and I saw an advertisement in the paper. We had spoken to some young people on the phone that day, and at the age of 18 they felt stuck and they didn't have anywhere to go. They were unemployed and weren't with their families. It felt for me, that Apprenticeships could be a way we could continue to support these young people.
Are the same challenges still present today as when you first heard about City Gateway?
Even more so. Young people are facing all sorts. It's bad enough if they have not had the support from their families or education, they have been let down. And then they always get told "no" because they haven’t got experience. They just need a break and someone to invest a bit of little time in them, and that for me is what this is all about.
"It's investing your time in a young person and giving them an opportunity they might well have not had."
How about your investment, what has been your professional input?
I take my responsibility to that young person really seriously and it is an investment. I will give up any of my time if I have to, to support these young people because that's what they need. They need someone who's not going to walk away from them when things get tough or when things aren't going so well. It has been really challenging, but with the support of City Gateway, together we have got there.
"They grow alongside me, and they teach me a lot too. To have them on your team is a great asset."
How does it work in parallel to your own job?
The apprentices I've taken on have all been Junior Facilities apprentices. They work alongside me and I mentor them every step of the way, giving them responsibilities and projects to work on. They grow alongside me, and they teach me a lot too. To have them on your team is a great asset. They just need that nurturing. Lauren who we've got with us now, she's amazing, she could go off now and hold down a full time role anywhere she wants to. She just needed that encouragement and somebody to praise her.
Comparatively to working with a graduate or different recruitment pool, how has your own line management improved as a result of having an apprentice?
It has helped me to grow into the role of a manager far better. I am more empathic to those around me and their situations. We never know what has gone on in their life. They come to you for an opportunity, but you have to respect all the things that come along with that person. I love it.
Do apprenticeships have a strong place in employment across all organisations?
I think it should be mandatory. We all have a duty of care and a sense of responsibility to help these young people. It helps an organisation to grow.
"We have some very talented young people out there and their skills and their talent is going to waste. A lot more organisations should get on board."
What would you say to other organisations, who are perhaps unsure?
I think that anyone considering taking on apprentices need to carefully consider what support they can offer, because there are organisations who have taken on apprenticeships for the wrong reasons. [When facilitated well] it’s nothing but a positive experience for everyone involved.
How would you say City Gateway worked alongside you?
I’ve had nothing but 100% positive experience with City Gateway. The people that have worked alongside me, they have been absolutely great. It's been a great balance with the safeguarding team that work so closely with the young people. I will support the young person to a degree, but then City Gateway will support them where they need it.
What would you say to young people considering an apprenticeship?
The apprenticeship status is not a negative one anymore; there are so many employers now on board. An apprenticeship scheme can put you on the right path to a very successful career. I know for a fact that every apprentice who has worked with us is in line for a good career. It can be a really positive experience.
What are some ways that apprentices have added real value to your work place?
They do give a bit of a buzz around the building. The day our apprentice left, our Chief Exec came down and had tea and cake. I try to encourage that, I give them projects where they get out and engage.