Town Planning Apprenticeship Article

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Care leaver Alban Isaku begins a paid Town Planning apprenticeship with Hounslow Council on 1 August.


As a Council, we have committed to a minimum of ten apprenticeship and employment opportunities for our care experienced young people as part of the Youth Skills and Employment Guarantee.

I was in care from the age of eleven, but now share a flat with another care leaver on the Hounslow/Whitton borders.

The care system worked out ok for me. It wasn’t easy at first, but I’ve learned to open up and understand my emotions. I think I’ve grown up a more mature, emotionally stable person as a result.  That might not have seemed easy when I was younger.

I left school with three A Levels; Economics, Maths and Physics and like to think I have a good problem - solving brain!  I was initially interested in being a trackman/railway engineer but found it extremely hard to break into.  

As someone who’s been in care, I have had support from the Council’s team, and Natasha Woolman in particular.  Natasha has always been there, a constant in the background. But particularly when we have the KICA (Kids in Care Awards) every year.   She was always the one organising it all but day to day, and once I’d reached sixteen, she kind of came into her own. 

If there was ever an issue with a social worker or anything like that, I could just basically e-mail her, ask her for clarification and she would respond. I'd imagine she does that with everyone, because she's always busy, but the important thing is, she’ll always find time for you which is nice.

She told me about the opportunity with the Council for this six-year Town Planning apprenticeship, in association with South Bank Uni.  I wasn’t the only candidate, and it was a relief in the end to find out I was successful - they kept me waiting a bit!

I’ve found a pathway for myself and that feels good. I would encourage anyone, whatever their background, to make the most of these opportunities.  There’s plenty around if you do your research and something like the Youth, Skills and Employment Guarantee can only help. I wouldn't have known about my apprenticeship if it wasn't for Natasha, who just happened to send me an e-mail. So, there’s a need to promote these opportunities widely, to everyone.

For me, governments tend to encourage young people to go to university to get into debt that they might not pay off. But with things like apprenticeships, you’re getting the relevant work experience, you're getting the qualification, and you're getting paid. So, it's like four birds, one stone.

Alban Isaku standing in Hounslow House
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