Babington trainee Jake Sharp has won a Nottingham Post Heroes Award in honour of his triumph over adversity, and his new-found employment success.
The award ceremony celebrated the achievements of local heroes, from courageous children to committed carers. After a tough upbringing, eighteen year-old Jake’s inspirational story won him the Young Achiever Award.
A post-traineeship transformation
Having been diagnosed with multiple mental health disorders, and with a background of robbery and drug dealing, Jake has made a significant turnaround. After joining Streetwise Environmental as a trainee, he has landed a full-time job with the organisation, and now spends his days improving his local environment.
Rachel Cameron, Director of Cityscape Greening, worked with Streetwise to help trainees develop a new set of skills. She witnessed Jake take great initiative, becoming a natural leader within the team.
She talked about the importance of these kinds of opportunities, stressing that not everyone has an academic mind, and some perform best in a practical role: “These traineeships allow young people to work at whatever level suits them, and learn a new craft. They offer a great opportunity to get into stable work, and keep young people out of trouble. When you have a purpose in life, something to get out of bed for, a real transformation takes place.”
Babington worked closely with Jake and other trainees to help them develop knowledge and skills vital to future employment. Rachel said that “Babington gives them loads of support, and offers a route into new opportunities.”
Jake is proud of his achievement, and thankful for the support he has had from both Streetwise and Babington. He said, “When other people are sitting at dinner they are looking at my work, and that gives me the sense of achievement to carry on. I never thought four or five months ago that I’d be doing what I do now. I feel like I’ve got everything going for me.”
He told us that “Babington and Streetwise have helped me a lot with everything. They both want the best for me, and I know that in the long run I will get a lot of out of it.” Jake is already planning for the future, looking into new training courses that will help him develop his career.
Giving back to the community
John Scott-Lee, Managing Director of Streetwise Environmental, spoke about how traineeships allow businesses to support their local communities: “It’s nice to do nice things, and we wanted to do something social. It gives you a chance to give something back to those who have nothing, and it gives you a perspective on life generally.”
John also discussed the importance of giving people a second chance. Jake’s traineeship involved starting work at 7am every day, and taking on physically demanding tasks that required real determination. John told us that, throughout the 12 weeks, “he had to have given up drugs and alcohol dependency, and to his immense credit he continued to stick to the programme.”
He talked about the positive impact that taking social responsibility can have on business reputation, stressing that companies do not lose out commercially by offering such opportunities. “There’s no excuse for companies not to take on trainees,” he said, “They have nothing to lose.”