Leeds youngster turns his life around thanks to apprenticeship

Jack Craven, John Thornton (LED Community Foundation) and James Sherburn (G&H Fabrication).
Jack Craven, John Thornton (LED Community Foundation) and James Sherburn (G&H Fabrication).
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A teenager has told how he turned his life around after an apprenticeship gave him the chance to forge a career.

Jack Craven, 16, said he was worried he would end up unemployed or in prison before a work experience placement led to a job and training at Leeds College of building.

After struggling at school, Jack was placed in a pupil referral unit, where he was helped by youth work organisation LED Community Foundation.

A placement was arranged at Pudsey-based G&H Group - a mechanical and electrical building services firm, where Jack was offered a four-year apprenticeship after impressing bosses.

As part of his apprenticeship, he is studying at Leeds College of Building for an NVQ in Building Services Engineering and Pipefitting.

Jack said: "The chance of work experience helped me take a step back and realise what I was doing wasn’t the way forward for me, it was going to be all downhill and nothing in it apart from probably prison.

“All my family are really proud of me and I’m proud of myself. I didn’t have a very good school life so to get an apprenticeship, be earning some money and getting my head down is really good.

“I’m taking this chance to start a career. I’ve learned so much already and I’m really enjoying it thanks to G&H and LED Community Foundation.”

G&H apprentices spend time with the firm's five different divisions – Building Services, Renewables, Fabrication, Maintenance and Air Conditioning – and go on regular site visits.

The company, which has around 20 apprentices, said it has a 100 per cent success rate with young people gaining NVQ Level 3 qualifications.

John Thornton, director of LED Community Foundation, said: "Jack had fallen in with the wrong crowd and our role is to identify young people in this situation and give them opportunities to turn their lives around.

“Businesses play a really important role in our work and we are always looking for those offering apprentices and who have good corporate social responsibility programmes to help complement what we do."