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Traineeship students looking ahead to bright futures

After taking part in the Palace for Life traineeship programme, a group of young south Londoners will be undertaking work placements in the new year.

Despite facing many setbacks this year due to the pandemic, a small group of young adults have been working hard at Selhurst Park to build towards their future careers.

Aged 17-21, the group are part of Palace for Life Foundation’s traineeship programme which aims to equip young people with the vital skills they will need to secure training or employment, such as CV writing, team work and leadership.

Launching just before the second national lockdown, the programme has been split between classroom sessions at Selhurst Park and virtual learning over video conferencing.

Palace for Life’s Education, Training and Employment Lead Tutor Louise McNestrie explained: “The group has been amazing, they’ve not used Covid as an excuse to stay indoors, the fact that they’re still doing something positive at this hard time just shows how committed they are. They all adapted really well when we had to move online, overnight, they turned up to the sessions, even with the distractions of working at home, they’ve been fantastic.”

The traineeship programme aims to address the high levels of youth unemployment in the borough of Croydon by engaging young people in innovative ways and using youth work organisations to help create a better path into employment and further training.

Louise continued: “Last week we had a visit from a local organisation that has offered us five internships so we’re working on getting CVs over to them and they’ll all be put forward for internships and traineeships in their chosen areas. It’s really important for us to secure that kind of progression for our young people going forward.”

One of the group, 21-year-old Yashir, is keen to become a football coach and is hoping to gain qualifications and work experience with Palace for Life. As well as making useful contacts, he has also enjoyed learning new skills in other areas.

Yashir explained: “There have been loads of different things we’ve done, but one that I found most helpful was a money management course, it showed us not just how to manage our money, but also ways of making money, using social media and things.”

Another of the group, 19-year-old Josh, explained why he had taken part: “I need to get a qualification, which is why I signed up, it’s been beneficial to me. We’ve been working towards goals and team work, ways of working together and working on our goals for our future.”

While they have been based at Selhurst Park, the group has been able to access a nutritious lunch each day, thanks to The Palace Kitchen, where Crystal Palace chefs have been cooking thousands of meals to help the local community.

Yashir said: “The food has been very nice, it’s good to have this fresh food and the kind of food that the players eat. We’ve had chicken, vegetables, rice and things like that.”

Josh added: “The food is good! I enjoyed the salmon, it’s nice the chefs are doing this for us, we’re lucky to have that food every day. We’d be eating junk food if we didn’t have it, we’d be wasting money.”

Find out more about our Route to Employment work or email Cigdem Turkan to find out more.

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