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Natalie, aged 25, was unemployed for 3 years before being signposted to the YMCA Apprenticeship Programme. This is her story.

“I had given up work to help my mum through a period of ill health and to care for my new baby sister. I found it extremely hard trying to get back into employment after such a significant time unemployed and my confidence and self-esteem had taken a bit of a back seat after all the knock-backs.

YMCA was running a project called V-Involved which funded 5 young people through a counselling training course. I was signed up and completed the course with a Level 2 Award in Introduction to Counselling Skills. During this time I was told about the YMCA Apprenticeship Programme and was encouraged to apply for a Level 2 Business & Administration Apprenticeship based across the HR and Youth departments. I interviewed successfully and secured the position.

During this year I assisted on various youth and HR projects which presented me with a wealth of information and options available for the young unemployed which I didn’t know existed. Having worked in both departments I started to feel a real passion for HR, and decided this was the work I wanted to continue with.

In 2013 the opportunity for a Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Business & Administration based in the HR department became available and I decided I’d go for it.

This role involved a lot more contact with the Executive and Senior Management Team and really got my confidence levels back to where they should be. After completing my Level 3 apprenticeship I was asked if I would like to be considered for the HR Assistant role in the newly merged YMCA West & Central Herts. I jumped at the opportunity and interviewed successfully. YMCA also sponsored me through my Level 5 Diploma in HR Management which I completed in July 2015. I am extremely grateful to Guy and everyone at YMCA West & Central Herts for the opportunities I have been given and the continued support”

“I hope to progress my career in HR and look forward to the challenges that are still to come.” Natalie