Five Blackpool teenagers have taken their first steps on the jobs ladder – after winning places on a top apprenticeship scheme.
Teenage jobseekers Josh Jones, Rob Cousins, River Parker Starkie, Mark Spreadbury and Jack Harrison are the newest recruits to the Blackpool Council run programme at the resort’s leisure centres.
And they have each made Michael Phelps-like progress, storming through the tough National Pool Lifeguards Qualification course in double quick time.
The apprentices are now being put to work at the council’s three leisure sites, which Town Hall bosses say will put them in pole position when it comes to securing full time work in the industry.
Coun Graham Cain, the council’s cabinet member for tourism and leisure, today hailed the programme as a “huge success”.
It comes just days after experts told The Gazette Blackpool has the highest level of youth unemployment in the North West.
This week, the five were presented with their qualification certificates and their all important whistles by Coun Cain.
He said: “I am extremely pleased to be able to present these young men with their certificates.
“The apprenticeship programme at Blackpool Council has been a huge success and is helping young people to find employment, learn valuable skills and earn qualifications.”
The National Pool Lifeguards Qualification gives people all the skills they need to be a professional lifeguard.
The five will also achieve their CYQ Level 2 Gym Instructor qualification, NVQ in Exercise and Fitness and a Technical Certificate in industry awareness.
Today, the teenagers praised the course.
Joshua Jones, 17, from central Blackpool, who went to Unity College, said: “I was the first person to apply for the job.
“The course was amazing and we’ve learned a lot. Now I want to work full time as a lifeguard or move into the personal training side of things.”
Jack Harrison, 17, from South Shore, who went to Highfield Humanities College, said: “I’ve always been a sporty person. I saw this job on the internetas I was looking for jobs and it seemed ideal.
“The course was intense and there was a lot to learn.”
Rob Cousins, 17, from North Shore, who went to Unity College, said: “I went to college but I didn’t enjoy it and I went to work at Matalan.
“I was looking more for a career though and so I went to Connexions and had a look around. I applied for the job and now here I am.”
River Starkie, 17, from South Shore, said: “I came out of the Army. I liked it but I didn’t like being away from home. I wanted a career in something sporty and I went to Connexions and saw this job. I’m really enjoying it.”
Mark Spreadbury, 16, from South Shore, said: “I wanted to to be an Army PT instructor but I wasn’t able to do so.
“I spoke to Connexions to and they told me about the course.
“It’s been really good.”