National Apprentice Week: ‘You can’t get better than this’
- Credit: London Legacy Development Corporation
Jone da Cruz thinks more young people in Hackney could benefit from learning on the job like he did. He’s worked his way up from apprentice to site manager of a block in Chobham manor - the first of five neighbourhoods being built at Straftford’s Olympic Park.
Having grown up in Hackney Jone is aware that young people aren't always told about opportunities avalialble to them.
He told the Gazette: "There's so much opportunity to do apprenticeships because of all the construction work going on and I don't think many young people know about it. I don't think it's their fault - it's not being advertised to them as well as it should be."
Jone left school feeling lost and without many options. He tried college and even trained as a plumber but discovered he needed another qualification in addition to the training he had completed and paid for.
"That's why apprenticeships are so great," he said.
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It's painful when you go to college every day and you know you're not getting a job out of it. When you do an apprenticeship you're learning and getting that qualification and some money on top - you can't get better than that."
The 27-year-old has worked in construction for four years and his company pays for his studies. He plans to become a chartered builder after he completes his construction degree at university.
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"If I didn't get this opportunity I don't know where I'd be.
When you're a young person trying to find yourself and don't know what you want to do there's no better way route."
He says the system blames young people but doesn't give much of an alternative.
"Get young people to develop themselves career wise for the future - if you have a purpose you're going to do a lot with your life," said Jone.
He's proud of his achievements and can't wait to finish the project he began as an apprentice.
"I cant believe I started this. Even the roads just driving past I remember there were no roads here before - it's a good feeling."
Jone's apprenticeship was organised by the London Legacy Development Corporation which works with employers to create apprenticeship opportunities for local young people.
Since 2013, 375 young people have benefited from apprenticeships on and around the park with almost half from boroughs like Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.
"We are passionate about apprenticeships. With world-class organisations moving to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as part of East Bank, Here East and International Quarter London, there are exciting opportunities for all in a range of careers, from engineering, the digital and creative industries and leisure through to construction and the built environment," said Lyn Garner, Chief Executive of the corporation.
For more info on apprenticeships at Olympic Park click here