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New apprenticeship scheme provides opportunities to combat youth unemployment

26 Feb New apprenticeship scheme provides opportunities to combat youth unemployment

Dagenham-based Paragon Customer Communications (PCC), the UK’s leading provider of end-to-end omnichannel services for marketing, transactional, operational and workplace solutions, has bucked the trend by launching its flagship apprenticeship programme Ignite, amidst over 60% of English businesses abandoning on-the-job training schemes in the past year.

While thousands of young people in the region have been left facing uncertain futures as entry-level jobs have taken a hit in recent months, the Ignite scheme provides opportunities for talented individuals to forge a career in the communications industry.

Apprentices are offered a unique opportunity to develop key skills in print, digital marketing, warehouse management, litho print, print finishing and engineering.

Ignite apprentices undertake an initial 10-week rotation, working across the business production areas including digital print, goods in, machine enclosing and general admin roles, preparing participants for the evolving environment of the communications industry before embarking on the multi-year programme.

Initially deployed at PCC’s Dagenham site, the programme is designed to create pathways for young, talented individuals to further their education and grow with the business throughout the scheme.

It is just one of the many creative initiatives coming out of PCC, a global organisation that has recently become The HomeServe Foundation’s first strategic partner during national apprentice week.

One individual who has enjoyed success through the programme is Mason Kane, of Upminster, who was one of the first six apprentices to be taken on as part of the company’s innovative scheme.

Local boy Mason Kane’s story is one of perseverance, hard work and inspiration. At just 19 years of age he went from doing odd jobs during the pandemic, to becoming an integral member of the engineering department at PCC, the UK’s leading end-to-end communications service provider.

It was a chance encounter that would transform Kane’s fortunes. Out of work and seeking manual labour jobs to pay the bills during the pandemic, he was unsure what the future held.

Much like thousands of young people across the country to have their plans severely disrupted, he had to adapt to endure. And it was during one of his many odd jobs that he would meet Dave Reynolds, Chief Operating Officer, Transactional & Service Divisions at Paragon Customer Communications – a moment that would change his fortunes.

Before Covid Mason had studied engineering and gained his NVQ Level 1 and 2 qualifications, but once the pandemic hit his employment opportunities were severely hampered.

Commenting on how his fortunes changed, Mason Kane said: “My Dad is a painter by trade and he was painting the house of Dave Reynolds. After mentioning he needed some extra work done to jet wash his driveway, I was invited along to do the job. Once my Dad got chatting to Dave, the conversation turned to me and the fact that I was a trainee engineer.

“It turned out Dave was Chief Operations Officer at Paragon Customer Communications, a company that was looking for young engineers to join its Ignite programme, so I sent him my CV and, as they say, the rest is history.”

Alison Jackson, Head of HR for PCC’s Transactional & Service Divisions, added: “As a business we are extremely pleased to see apprentices are grabbing the opportunities presented to them with both hands, and enjoying considerable success by advancing along their career paths with extra training to get the certifications needed to progress within the last year.”