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Trainees on the ball as MP supports skills programme

13 March 2017

Mr Duddridge visited the Club’s Facilities Management Academy

Rochford and Southend East MP James Duddridge met trainees at Southend United’s new skills academy as they prepared the Roots Hall stadium for its next match.

Mr Duddridge visited the Club’s Facilities Management Academy, run in conjunction with Essex-based education and skills organisation Seetec, to mark National Apprenticeship Week.

The visit followed the Government’s Budget announcement of an additional £500 million a year to invest in training for 16-19-year-olds. 

Mr Duddridge met six trainees from the first group to start a 100-hour work placement at the Club lasting ten weeks. They are working alongside the Club’s facilities team to learn how to prepare and maintain the 12,392-seater stadium to ensure fans have a good match day experience.

Mr Duddridge said: “I was pleased to meet the students at the club.  Each student told me how they thoroughly enjoyed the course, what they were doing before they joined the course and what they are looking forward to after completing it. I wish all of the students the very best of luck not just for this course, but for their future studies too.”

Seetec Director Rob White said: “The trainees get on-the-job experience of working at a League One football club, including preparing the venue for business and corporate events, combined with some classroom-based learning. It leads to a Level 1 award in facilities including hygiene and health and safety, and could also lead to being offered an apprenticeship at the Club.”

Trainee George Poole, 17, from Rochford, said: “This course has given me a lifeline at an important time in my life and given me an opportunity to gain qualifications for the future.

“Our trainer from Seetec has shown belief in me and has no limits in supporting us, even with personal situations, and helping me to begin this job role. The course is supporting me to get valuable work experience and helping me to mature in to a working role where I can benefit the community. 

“By the end of the course I hope to gain my apprenticeship and improve my skills all round. I’m grateful for the chance I’ve been offered by Southend United, and to Seetec for the support I get.”

Cha Austin, 16, from Basildon, said: “It’s going well and I’m looking forward to making the stadium look good to help cut the grass, as well as getting a qualification at the end.”

Southend United Head of Marketing, Rhys Ellingham, said: “It is great for the trainees to get valuable working experience whilst also gaining qualifications. We have over 190,000 spectators attend Southend United matches at Roots Hall Stadium throughout the season so making sure fans have a good match day experience is paramount and the trainees play a key part in this.”

More than a quarter of a million employers in the UK take on apprentices, and the Government is committed to supporting three million apprenticeships by 2020. Nationally 75 per cent of apprenticeship employers report that the young people have helped their business to improve the quality of their product or service.

Anyone aged 16-18 who is interested in traineeships at Southend United or other Essex employers should email:

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