Fantastic work is being done in our constituency to get young people into work or structured apprenticeships. If you are a young person seeking employment or an opportunity to get experience, consider getting in touch with the YES service, a free support team which is available for 18 to 24 year-olds.
YES is delivered by Reed in Partnership, and recently helped Westminster resident, Damir Krnic into a great apprenticeship by overcoming some of the challenges which had previously prevented him from getting into the workplace, including being a full-time carer for one of his family members and not having the right clothing for interviews. Read his story below as inspiration and then visit the YES website for more information – http://yesldn.org/
Damir Krnic, 20, City of Westminster
Before being referred to the YES service, Damir had struggled with finding work and was unemployed – in his words – ‘for ages’.
Damir had been caring full-time for a member of his family for two years, and was referred to the YES programme by Juvenis, a youth charity that supports young people with complex barriers to employment.
Although he was interested in starting an apprenticeship, Damir was unsure of the sector he wanted to work in. One of his biggest barriers to finding a job was the online application process: “I found it quite difficult trying to find the correct sites to match what I wanted to do”, he said; “There wasn’t a lot of variety online.
“I thought, if I’m going to do an apprenticeship, it has to be something I love and can be passionate about, but I couldn’t find anything myself.”
Damir also highlighted the levels of competition for each apprenticeship he came across: “Most companies would only take one person on for an apprenticeship, so it was quite difficult. Also, a lot of companies didn’t even get back to me, which I didn’t like.”
Damir remembers the day he first met his YES Employment Adviser – Levent: “I wasn’t actually that nervous before my first meeting with Levent – when I walked in, he had a really friendly face.
“Over time, Levent taught me how to specify exactly what I was looking for: he taught me interview skills, body language, how to behave and talk, what certain questions mean, how to perceive those questions and answer back…and lots of key skills, like being on time and making sure you stay organised.”
Levent also taught Damir how to confidently apply for jobs online: “He was so helpful in helping me with online applications; I’d say 85% of jobs are advertised online, so it’s really important to have the know-how. I feel a lot more confident in doing this now.”
Damir’s Employment Adviser also helped him establish exactly which route he wanted to pursue: “Levent saw a creative side to me and encouraged me to express it – he said I’m very intelligent and capable of coming up with good ideas, so we started looking into marketing apprenticeships.
“We also completely revamped my CV – we changed the style, added colour and personality, and made my CV really represent me. I got a much better response when I put my new CV online.”
In fact, Damir’s new CV quickly secured him an interview with 3BM for a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship. The YES programme offered Damir financial support to purchase suitable interview clothing, then worked with him to fully prepare him for his interview:
“3BM was one of my first interviews”, said Damir. “Yet I felt fully prepared and equipped with all the knowledge I received from Levent. I felt very confident – lots of the questions that were asked were similar to the ones I’d done in my mock interviews with Levent, so I knew how to answer.
“When I left my interview, I called my family straight away and told them: ‘I know I’ve got the job!’”
Damir was right – just a few days after the interview, he was given the good news he was hoping for.
“I’m more than a month in to my apprenticeship, and it feels really good to be employed”, said Damir, who is enjoying feeling motivated, as well as the structure a full-time job has brought to his life.
“My favourite thing about the YES programme was the respect that all the staff gave you. Even though I was working directly with Levent, everyone else there was welcoming as well. I remember that Levent said ‘I want this to be like your second home, so you don’t feel worried to come here’, and when I was there, I felt like I was at home.
“All the staff there are incredible, and very friendly and nice.
“I would 100% recommend the YES programme to other young people.”