European Winner - Innovation
The Real Apprentice Programme showcases MITIE as a true ‘people’ organisation, one that raises the corporate responsibility bar for others to follow. The ten-week scheme works to break down barriers and help the long-term unemployed and people with a physical or mental disability back into the world of work through training and placements both at MITIE and with its clients.
The business case is very clear. MITIE has saved hundreds of thousands of pounds in recruitment fees since the start of the programme whilst also motivating people who have developed their skills and discovered abilities they never knew they had.
One of the biggest challenges was securing the payment of benefits, travel and clothing assistance from JobCentre Plus (JCP) for the unemployed participants taking part in the programme. Once this was achieved, individuals could retain their benefits allowing them to participate fully in the programme – a truly innovative approach to addressing employability issues.
The Real Apprentice Programme begins with a submission of potential applicants by JCP and then successful applicants participate in a pre-placement week to build confidence and evaluate ability. An eight-week operational placement complete with on-site mentor and audit trail then follows. After that is an offsite week with CV and interview workshops and the final part is the annual award ceremony to recognise the achievement of the real apprentices.