'The best thing I've ever done': preparing young people for the workplace

  • Huzaifa Abowath – a career success story
  • British Gas is a founding partner of the Movement to Work scheme
  • Over 400 young people have been trained so far

 

The fact that Huzaifa Abowath could not get a foot on the career ladder was not for want of trying.

Every day he would apply for countless apprenticeships – always hopeful.

In the meantime, to make ends meet, he’d take on odd jobs and temporary work – often on low pay and zero-hour contracts.

But this determination to work, whatever the role, actually had a negative impact on his CV, with many prospective employers believing his chequered work history meant he wasn’t committed to finding a long-term career.

Caught in a vicious circle Huzaifa, now 25, felt demoralised and began to despair he’d ever find a lifelong career.

That all changed when he applied for a Movement to Work programme with British Gas in the services contact centre in his home town of Leicester in 2015.

The Movement to Work programme helps thousands of unemployed young people and is designed to give them skills and confidence to find a permanent job.

British Gas was a founding partner of the Movement to Work campaign in 2014 and has since trained 438 young people through its schemes at sites across the country. 

The scheme changes lives, as Huzaifa explains: “Getting the place on the programme gave me an instant boost. I finally felt like I was being given a chance.

 

 

Huzaifa Abowath sitting at his desk at work on the phone

“It was the first training programme I had applied for and I’m so pleased I did.

“The course is a good mix of learning with our instructors and also actually speaking with customers once we were trained.

“There’s lots of help and I was never left to struggle on my own. The most valuable part of the training was the advice I received from my mentors. We also had group discussions and presentations where you get to show what you’ve learnt - that really built up my self-esteem.

“At work, I can now deal with calls on anything from customer bill payments to booking out engineers and boiler insurance.

“I also made good friends on the programme. We’re close and we often play football together after work or socialise in some way.

 

 

“Without doubt completing the Movement to Work programme and working as an apprentice with British Gas is the best thing that I’ve done.

“The programme really worked for me and I’m more confident now. I hope more young people in tough situations like mine will consider applying for opportunities like this.

“Through this programme, I’ve made my family proud.”

John Madden, Head of Volume Resourcing at British Gas said: “We’re extremely proud to be a founding partner in this important scheme and that we’ve been able to help make such a difference to young peoples’ lives.

“Our bespoke, high-standard vocational training courses are delivered across five of our business locations, including Leeds, Leicester, and, Cardiff.

“We’re delighted to already lead the way in recruiting apprentices, with 1,200 currently training in our six academy sites across the country. And we’re also committed to providing a further 600 Movement to Work places over the coming two years.

“It’s important for us to be able to help people like Huzaifa, hopefully he and his co-trainees will enjoy a long and happy career with us.”

 

To find out more, visit Movement to Work

Published June 2016, all facts and figures correct at the time of publishing.

 

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