A Blackpool Council apprentice has been named as the best in the town.
Danny Couzens, 19, from Bispham, was hired by the council as part of a drive to hire apprentices and reduce youth unemployment, which began in 2011.
Three years later and Danny has progressed in his job, as well as gaining three different qualifications at Blackpool and The Fylde College.
Now he’s been named by the college as the town’s best apprentice for painting and decorating, as well as winning the award for the Most Outstanding Student Apprentice of the Year in the School of Construction. The honours were part of the college’s Student of the Year awards.
Danny, whose day to day roles involves carrying out repairs and maintenance, as well as painting and decorating jobs at different council buildings around town, has also been studying to complete his Level 3 in Painting and Decorating, having already completed the two Level Two qualifications that came before it.
He said: “It was great to win those awards at college and it felt like the best achievement I’ve ever won and I feel very proud.
“Being in this job has changed my life in many ways, such as a better lifestyle, direction and I’m gaining confidence every day. Also, being in this job has improved my DIY skills for working at my flat and helping my family and friends. If I did not have this job I don’t know where I would be today.
“I enjoy learning on the job, meeting people, having a laugh with the lads, gaining more life skills and going to college to learn more about my trade.”
As well as being proud of his own achievement, Danny was quick to thank the staff at Blackpool Council and The College who have helped him improve.
“I would not have achieved any of this if it wasn’t for Ross and Dean, so they deserve many thanks.”
Tutor Brian Hall, who nominated Danny for the award, said: “When Danny first came to enrol at the College he was very withdrawn, struggled to make eye contact with the interviewer and left before signing the application form. Luckily he found the confidence to return to college and, after Blackpool Council gave him the opportunity to start an Apprenticeship, he settled into college life and made considerable progress.
“Danny is a pleasure to teach and seeing him laugh, smile and interact with his group brings a great sense of achievement to everyone that has helped him come so far in so little time.
“His hard work has paid off – Danny has now completed his Level 3 qualification and should be incredibly proud of everything he has achieved.”
Since the launch of the Council’s apprenticeship policy, 61 young people have been taken on by the authority in various roles, in an attempt to give them a chance to get a permanent job in the town.
Cllr Fred Jackson, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, added: “We brought in the apprenticeship programme to help young people get on the jobs ladder and get on in life.
“Danny is a fantastic example of somebody who has grasped the opportunity with both hands and used it to improve his own prospects.
“He’s got the right attitude and has worked exceptionally hard so I’m delighted to see him doing well.”