HAYLEY Waterhouse left Garibaldi College in Forest Town, Mansfield, last summer with five GCSEs and a burning desire to become an interior designer or architect.
It was while studying the Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment at Vision West Notts — formerly West Notts College — one day a week as a ‘schools link’ student that she found she enjoyed harnessing her creativity.
But the teenager admits she felt a bit lost, not knowing quite what to do next in order to fulfil her dreams.
Said Hayley (17): “I found I really enjoyed being creative, I just wasn’t sure how I’d get into the world of design or architecture.”
The chance to apply for a place on a unique scheme run by Vision West Notts and its recruitment service, Vision Apprentices, in partnership with Mansfield District Council provided the opportunity she had been looking for.
“Somebody from Vision Apprentices told to me about a programme called the ‘Summer Job Shop’ and I thought I had nothing to lose in applying and trying something different over the school holidays,” said Hayley.
The three-week scheme helped 60 young people in the district prepare for employment through workshops covering confidence building, skills development sessions financial management and a chance to meet employers who were looking to recruit new talent.
Hayley said: “I was really pleased to be selected and over the three weeks took part in interview-preparation workshops, learnt how to put together a good CV and participated in try-a-trade sessions in brickwork.
“I didn’t really connect with that trade, but the council offered me the chance to try painting and decorating at their Mansfield Woodhouse housing depot.
“I really enjoyed the tasks they gave me and it made me think of my long-term plan to become an interior designer.
“I realised I needed the foundation skills in decorating before pursing that any further.”
Hayley’s commitment and conscientious attitude paid off when she became one of five participants to secure an apprenticeship at the council, which she started in September 2011.
Working full-time in the council’s housing maintenance team, Hayley is earning a wage while studying on a day-release programme in painting and decorating at West Notts’ construction and logistics skills academy in Kirkby.
Hayley said: “If I hadn’t enrolled on the Job Shop, I’m not sure what I’d be doing now. I might still have gone to college, but I’m glad I found out more about apprenticeships and the benefits they can offer you.”
Of those taking part in the Job Shop, half have secured employment opportunities while others have pursued alternative educational routes.
Sandra Cowley, director of Vision Apprentices, said: “It just shows the positive impact that this unique project has had on young people by getting them work ready and on the right path to a career with great prospects.”