Salford Through and Through… One Apprentice, One City

5 March 2019

John Kitoko is Salford through and through. The Salford City College Apprentice has had his fair share of ups and downs when it comes to his education and found at times he has made unfavourable decisions, but, with the help of City Skills, Apprenticeships at Salford City College, Salford Connexions and Connolly Limited he has now been able to pave his way into the creative career he has always wanted.

(John Kitoko)

John has had the city behind him when it comes to his career. After deciding against a full-time college course, the youngster was left confused about his options, until he stepped into Salford Connexions. He said: “If anything, Connexions really did help. Without them, I wouldn’t have even got onto the Prince’s Trust Programme at City Skills, Salford City College.”

John joined the 12-week Prince’s Trust Team Programme, which aims to help young people uncover their hidden talents, improve their confidence and gain new skills. He continued: “The Prince’s Trust gave me many new skills; things like employability and communications skills. The programme helped me with my confidence and I now find it easier to speak to people as a result.”

By this point, John was well and truly under the wing of the college. Shortly after completing his Prince’s Trust Team Programme he was enrolled onto the Build Salford Traineeship which is run by the college’s apprenticeship provision. Available to 16-24 year olds in the City of Salford, Build Salford is a unique partnership of over 15 dedicated industry partners, Apprenticeships at Salford City College and Salford City Council, who all have one shared interest: to create as many opportunities as possible for young people looking to kick start their career within the construction industry. 

Initially, John wasn’t sure about a career in construction, he said: “When I first started at Build Salford I thought my only option was to work on a big construction site or something similar. I had no idea something like painting and decorating would be an option for me.

“For my GCSEs, I did art, music and drama. I’m a creative person so painting was much more up my street than working on a construction site, but that is the great thing about the traineeship, it had much more to offer than meets the eye.”

It was the perfect fit. Following the 16-week Build Salford Programme, John secured himself a full-time apprenticeship with one of the traineeship’s partners. Kerry Whittle, Business Development Leader from Connolly Limited who employed John, said: “I first met John on the Build Salford Programme, one of the opportunities was for a painting and decorating traineeship through a scheme with Salix Homes, who are also part of Build Salford.

“John really took to the painting and decorating environment and his role. It was based on his performance in the traineeship that we decided to offer him a full-time apprenticeship, and what a great decision it was, he has really thrived. He has really grown in confidence and being placed on site has given him a lot of resilience and personal strength which will enable him to continue to find his way in life and create career options for himself.”

It seems John agrees, he added: “What I like most about my apprenticeship is the fact I am learning new skills and getting paid. I’m getting paid at such a young age too which is a big bonus. I’m actually doing something I like doing and get paid to do that.”

It had been quite the journey for John before he managed to secure his apprenticeship with Connolly, but he finally feels he is on the right track to a successful future thanks to the opportunities he has been given by these Salford-based organisations. He said: “In my past, I have made bad choices when it came to my education, or so I thought. Now I know, if I had not gone to Salford Connexions then I would never have gotten this job. I’d never have been put onto the Prince’s Trust Team Programme, the Build Salford Traineeship and then my apprenticeship.”

What’s next for John? He said: “It’s great to have learnt this trade, it’s something I’ll always have and I feel confident I’ll always be employable. I’m hoping after the apprenticeship I’ll be able to find full-time employment.”

Kerry has her own hopes for the young apprentice. “In the long term, I’d love to see John grow and develop his own art. To grow and bring his creativity and artistic flair and combine it with the skills he now has in painting and decorating – I think it will take him onto to great things.”

“He has passion and creativity and this is hopefully the gateway to bigger and better things.”

John is a great example of the opportunities that are on offer in the City of Salford. If you are interested in becoming an apprentice of perhaps joining the Build Salford Traineeship, please contact Apprenticeships at Salford City College on 0161 631 5555. If you are interested in finding out more about the Prince’s Trust Team Programme contact the Admissions Team on 0161 631 5000.

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