Four young people from the West Midlands have been offered apprenticeships with Centro and National Express after completing a Prince’s Trust scheme. Leon Carter. Moah Nur, Vanessa Smith and Anthony Bell, all from Birmingham, won the coveted places through ‘Get Into Transport’.
Run by Centro on behalf of the Prince’s Trust, Get Into Transport saw 10 candidates spend four weeks on work experience rotating between Virgin trains, National Express and Centro.
At Virgin they carried out silver service in First Class on inter-city Pendolino trains, at National Express they worked in human resources, training and customer relations, and at Centro in customer relations, bus stations and ticket information centres.
The winning candidates were announced in a ceremony at Centro House in Birmingham by former Labour MP and shadow transport minister Lord Snape of Wednesbury.
Moha and Leon will now shortly begin work with Centro’s customer relations team while Vanessa and Anthony won similar roles with National Express.
Moha, aged 23, from Edgbaston, is originally from Holland and moved to England with family in 2009. She had been unemployed for a year when she applied for Get Into Transport.
She said: “To have been selected feels awesome, I really didn’t expect it.
“I’ve really enjoyed the scheme and to have been selected for one of the apprenticeships is a real bonus.”
Leon, aged 25, from Erdington, had been unemployed for two months before applying for the scheme.
He said: “I’m delighted, I’ve really enjoyed the experience and working on the project.
“They’re a great team running the course, I’ve made some real friends with other people who have been on it with me and it’s really brought me out of my shell.”
Lord Snape told the ceremony: “I congratulate all of the winners and my commiserations to the losers. This is a marvellous initiative.
“Unemployment in young people is so high not just in this country but across Europe, and governments ignore it at their peril.”
Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip said: “Get Into Transport is a superb scheme that gives young people a real chance to gain experience working in public transport.
“Everyone who has taken part will have gained valuable work experience and the opportunity to develop skills and identify their strengths.”
Peter Coates, managing director of National Express West Midlands, said: “As part of our close partnership working with Centro, National Express were offered the opportunity this year to be involved, for the first time, with the Prince’s Trust and we have been extremely pleased at how well the scheme has gone.
“As one of the major employers in the West Midlands we are always keen to do what we can to help provide jobs for local people and we know just how important work experience can be for young people in making the first step into employment.”
Paul Beesley, senior head of programmes for The Prince’s Trust in the West Midlands said: “The Prince’s Trust Get into Transport course is a fantastic way for young people to increase their chances of finding work in the transport industry.
“We provide young people with intensive training, work experience and qualifications to help them into jobs. It is great to be working with Centro, Virgin Trains and National Express to help support young people in the area to move into the workplace.”