Local Award for Advocacy Focus Apprentices Advocacy Focus has won the Apprenticeship Award at the 2018 Hyndburn Business Awards, recognising the high quality support and training programmes we offer to young people. The Apprenticeship Award is given to the organisation that demonstrates the commitment, contribution and success that Apprentices have brought to them. Our Apprentice, Ammaar, was the star of the show and accepted the award on behalf of Advocacy Focus at the ceremony in Accrington on 19th June. John Hutchison, Operations Director, for Advocacy Focus says: “We are incredibly proud of our Apprentices Beth and Ammaar and delighted at how they have both developed as young people and as valued employees of Advocacy Focus. “This award is not just recognition of how they have progressed in our organisation but equally recognises Advocacy Focus as an organisation committed to the training and development of young people in the local communities in which we work.” About our Apprenticeship Programme Over the last year we have had three apprentices join our organisation, of which one has gone on to secure full time employment. We have two apprentices currently in our charity who are working towards their Business Admin Level 2 qualifications; Ammaar who is doing a great job as our Business Admin Apprentice at the age of 16, and Beth, 18, who is our Casework Support Apprentice. Ammaar and Beth both attend college as well as working at Advocacy Focus. Our Apprentices receive a mentor for their time with us who regularly develops, trains and mentors them with regular feedback. But that’s not all, our unique culture at Advocacy Focus means everyone gets involved in developing our Apprentices and integrating them firmly into the team. Their mentors also regularly meet with their course tutors to feedback on their development and progress with us. Apprentices have the same opportunities as the rest of the team for training and development. Our Apprentices so far have attending legislation courses, advocacy training, presentation courses and more. Our Apprentices also receive routine appraisals and peer to peer support just like the rest of our team. This is also a chance for the Apprentice to reflect on their time and progress and express any further training or development areas they are interested in. We also support our Apprentice’s emotional wellbeing as part of our company wide Health and Wellbeing policy. This includes them having access to our company counsellor, which is completely confidential and to our Time to Change team should they be experiencing any mental health difficulties, which we understand can often affect young people who may feel pressured when starting their careers and making important decisions about their lives. The Time to Change campaign is all about removing the stigma of mental illness in the workplace, so via our Time to Change campions, our staff have access to their peers for support. If they are feeling low or stressed they can speak to someone on their own level in a way that is non-judgemental and entirely confidential. One of the main focuses of our programme is equipping our Apprentices with the knowledge and skills to gain full time employment; as a growing charity, we are confident that our Apprentices will stay with us long after their courses finish – if they wish to of course! The Future of Apprenticeships Our Apprenticeship programme has been so successful that we intend to grow the programme and hire more Apprentices over the coming years. Our Apprentices are a much needed resource in Advocacy Focus and provide a high level of invaluable support to the team and this is something we feel any organisation and charity could benefit from! A huge congratulations to Ammaar and Beth on their exciting journey so far, we wish them all the success in their careers!