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Changing the Futures of Hartlepool students

Pictured: Elle Lawrence and Joseph Dawson, Apprentices

Changing Futures North East, a charity that specialises in family mediation and support, as well as pioneering innovative work with families, has tapped into the power of our apprenticeships has taken on two apprentices, Elle Lawrence as an Apprentice Family Support Worker and Joseph Dowson as a Business Support Apprentice.

After experiencing university Elle knew it wasn’t the right route for her and was excited to find an apprenticeship opportunity with Changing Futures right on her doorstep. This allowed her to work and learn whilst completing her Children and Young People’s Workforce Level 2 qualification. Elle said: “It was really nerve-wracking when I started, I didn’t know what to expect, but Changing Futures has a brilliant team and, along with the College, guided me in my new role. In the beginning, I shadowed members of staff and got used to the work. We assess families and couples before they start the mediation process, so the first thing I get is a piece of paper detailing the problems and challenges the family is facing, along with a general introduction. From there I meet with them and assess their mediation needs, preparing background information for the mediators and also meeting separately with each side to prepare their notes and talk through their challenges and conflicts.”

After four weeks of intense training and impressing the Changing Futures staff, Elle was taking referrals of her own and meeting with families. Elle added: “When I was at University I was emptying bins on my placement. Obviously, I know you have to work your way up, but with an apprenticeship, I am doing real work and seeing the benefits of what I was doing, whilst being paid and gaining experience.” Joseph had been waiting for an apprenticeship opportunity since he was 16 and had tried taking the college route. He said: “It just wasn’t for me. I’m not academic and I know that exams are where I trip up. I knew I needed a position that would allow me to gain a qualification through practical work and building a coursework portfolio. I had been waiting for an apprenticeship to come up and jumped at the opportunity with Changing Futures. I started slowly getting to grips with perfecting my phone manner and updating spreadsheets and now I’m being given more responsibility and tasks to complete. Eventually, I’d love to continue working on my education through Hartlepool College and become an accountant.”

Hartlepool College is the number one apprenticeship provider in the North and handles a range of different opportunities for young people, from engineering, welding and construction to business services, hair and beauty, social care and travel.

Shaun Hope, Head of Student Recruitment for Hartlepool College, said: “Elle and Joseph are an excellent example of two young people really excelling in their workplace after only six months of being there. “Both of them are a credit to Changing Futures North East and brilliant examples of how the apprenticeship route can get you straight into your desired career, both earning and learning. I’m really looking forward to seeing Elle and Joseph gain their qualifications and seeing them progress even further in their apprenticeships.”

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