A Pelsall student is helping to launch a borough-wide campaign to encourage Walsall people to return to college.
Joshua Dallaway, aged 22 from Pelsall, had been made redundant four times since leaving school, was dependent on Job Seeker’s Allowance and had been unemployed since December 2011 when he signed up to Walsall Community College’s Sports Academy in April last year.
The academy is one of seven pre-apprenticeship programmes at the College, which helps people aged 16 to 24 to gain the skills, qualifications and work experience they need for work.
Josh was encouraged to sign up to the College’s Sports Academy course – a six month pre-apprenticeship programme aimed at young people like Josh who are not in employment, education or training – in the spring of 2012 during a visit to his local Job Centre Plus.
“Walsall Adult & Community College have massively helped me in my situation,” he says.
“I was made redundant just before Christmas, so it was a pretty low point for me. But I saw an advert in the Job Centre and I saw a pre-apprenticeship opportunity at the college. I applied and thought ‘what have I got to lose’?”
“The college has helped me a get a decent job and decent qualifications.”
Josh finished the programme in October 2012 and during a six week placement with Walsall Council’s Sports Development Service was able to hone his coaching skills by teaching youngsters who attended its Sports Summer Skills programme.
Upon completing the programme, Josh progressed to a 12-month full apprenticeship in Sports and Management with Walsall Council and works at Oak Park Leisure Centre and Walsall Gala Baths as a lifeguard.
“I’d definitely recommend the course. It’s helped me develop many skills, make loads of new friends and I’m generally enjoying my life now,” he said. “I would like to progress to leisure management, work myself up to become a duty manager and further my experience in sports coaching.”
Joanne Keatley, the college’s vice principal said: “He’s a great example of someone who has worked incredibly hard to realise his potential and we’re confident that he will continue to achieve the goals in his career.”
Young people interested in careers in health and social care, childcare, sport, construction, business or working in the digital media industry or digital engineering can apply for pre-apprenticeship now. Contact the college’s Guidance Team on 01922 663000 or view the course catalogue on www.wacc.ac.uk.