Specialist Land Referencing, GIS and Data Management services provider, TerraQuest, has scooped a top accolade in recognition of their commitment to train and support young unemployed people into careers in the business.
At the Movement to Work Awards, which took place earlier this month (January 2018), they were named ‘Leading SME’ and were specially recognised for the inspiration they have provided to young people.
Movement to Work is a voluntary collaboration of UK employers committed to tackling youth unemployment by providing high quality training and work experience. TerraQuest, part of Mears Group PLC, has been involved in the scheme for the past 12 months.
During that time, they have worked in partnership with Birmingham Metropolitan College and The Job Centre to offer pre-employment training, work experience and full apprenticeships to local unemployed people.
Kelly Blakeway has been responsible for implementing the scheme at TerraQuest. She explains: “The young people are recruited by the Job Centre and then we work with the College to provide classroom- based and on the job learning opportunities. Students who are successful at the pre-employment stage then have the opportunity to go into full apprenticeships with our business.
“In 2017, we took on two apprentices from the scheme and, for 2018, we have pledged to offer five work experience placements and a further two apprenticeships. We are also looking into the possibility of extending the scheme to our Bristol offices.”
Kelly is passionate about the impact the scheme has had at TerraQuest. “I whole heartedly recommend the approach to other employers,” she said. “It has provided real opportunities for young people to start and grow in a career; and has also been a great way for us to find and recruit talent for our business. Yes, it’s a commitment – both in terms of finance and time – but it pays dividends with loyal employees who are trained in the skills and also the culture of your business.”
Aahlia Akhtar is one of the apprentices who was taken on by Terraquest through Movement to Work. She had been working as a full time carer but was looking for an opportunity to get into IT. She came across the scheme while she was searching online for Traineeships.
“I got on to a traineeship and went on to secure work experience with Terraquest,” explained Aahlia. “It was really useful for getting an insight into what the job role involves and it helped me to start building the skills and experience needed to get a job or apprenticeship in this area.”
Aahlia says she found it beneficial to have her training at Terraquest because it offered the opportunity to try out roles in a number of different departments. “When I was offered an apprenticeship, I knew which areas I found most interesting and felt most suited to,” she said.
Aahlia is now well on her way to completing her apprenticeship as a GIS Technician and securing her Level 2 Certificate in Business Administration. “Apprenticeships are a great way to learn and earn at the same time,” she said, “and hopefully it will lead to a permanent role,” she said.
Geoffrey Keal, Managing Director of TerraQuest said: “I am delighted to be able to offer opportunities to young people like Aahlia who go on to become real assets in our business. And we’re delighted to have won this award, which helps to raise the profile of a fantastic scheme which takes young people – often from disadvantaged backgrounds – into training and ultimately a career.”