Getting Young People into the Workplace


The end of compulsory schooling can be a difficult time. Young people will have finished their time as a student and will be looking ahead to the world of work. This is the same for Sixth Form students, who will have completed their studies and will be looking at what comes next. Luckily, on St Helena, the Education Directorate helps by providing two very valuable opportunities – Work Experience Placements, and the Apprenticeship Scheme.

Work Experience Placements

Work Experience Placements are arranged as a continuation of the Career Guidance Programme that is delivered to Year 11 students of Prince Andrew School. This is to help with the transition from school into the world of work.

Work Experience Placements serve as an important process, enabling school leavers to gain knowledge and experience in the workplace in order for them to develop their employment and employability skills and to also ascertain whether they have chosen a career they wish to pursue.

Work Development Coordinator, Cynthia Bennett, said:

“Work Experience is invaluable. Apart from gaining critical knowledge and experience of the job, which will help young people greatly in the Job Interview Process, it also allows them to demonstrate their skills to the employer, show their potential, and establish relationships in the workplace.”

Work Experience Placements are very popular among school leavers on St Helena, and has become a huge stepping stone into future employment and career development. This year alone, out of a cohort of 35 students, 32 applied for a Work Experience Placement. The Education Directorate is very grateful to local employers for facilitating these placements.

Marcella Mittens is currently on a Work Experience Placement with SHG’s Corporate Services having just recently finished her Sixth Form studies.

Marcella Mittens recently completed her Sixth Form studies 

Marcella said:

“Both Work Experience Placements and the Apprenticeship Scheme give students a stepping stone for what they aspire to be. It stimulates the skills needed for career development and captivates interests from the exposure to work life. Personally, I feel it’s a good way of testing your academic knowledge to enhance a better perception, which indeed will benefit you when finding a permanent job or furthering your education.”

Apprenticeship Scheme

The Apprenticeship Scheme is designed to provide purposeful training and study programmes to give people the opportunity to develop in their chosen field of work and to improve their employability. This is an especially useful opportunity for those who have just finished schooling.

Founded in 2013, the Apprenticeship Scheme replaced the Youth Development Scheme (established in the 1980s) and is designed to help create a pathway for school leavers into employment.

The Apprenticeship Scheme allows people to gain a variety of job-specific and transferable skills, and work towards gaining recognised qualifications required in the workplace. The Scheme is also beneficial to employers who have the opportunity to train these apprentices and, in turn, upskill them for posts needed in the workplace, contributing to the production and efficiency of an organisation.

Cynthia said:

“The Apprenticeship Scheme is a wonderful pathway into full-time employment.  Over the years, I have seen lots of people progress into successful careers through this scheme and have become upstanding citizens in our society. This is also a great opportunity for our school leavers and should be seriously considered when leaving school.”

Since it was introduced, the Apprenticeship Scheme has been a great success with approximately 90% of apprentices being offered employment in the organisation in which they were trained. As a result of the scheme, today there are many people in key positions such as Technicians, Mechanics, Health Workers, Construction Supervisors, and Chefs.

Rhys Francis is a former student of Prince Andrew School, and decided to take advantage of the Apprenticeship Scheme to join the St Helena Fire & Rescue Service (SHF&RS) when he had finished compulsory schooling. Following his time on the Scheme, during which he was able to obtain the required qualifications and experience required for the job, Rhys was offered full time employment as a Firefighter with the SHF&RS.

Rhys Francis is now a full-time Firefighter following two years with the Fire & Rescue Service on the Apprenticeship Scheme

Rhys said:

“The Apprenticeship Scheme helped me tremendously with starting my career at the SHF&RS. For the two years that I was on the Scheme, I learnt the valuable skills needed for being in the workplace. It also helped me grow in areas such as self-confidence. My advice for anyone wanting to join the Apprenticeship Scheme is to enjoy it to the full and take advantage of any learning opportunity you can. Also to show self-motivation, commitment, dedication and enthusiasm – if you display all of these personal attributes I am sure you will be rewarded just like me.”

#StHelena #Education #WorkExperience #Apprenticeships #AltogetherBetterForChildrenAndYoungPeople

2 July 2020

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470