‘First of its kind’ i-zine gives Leeds students taste of apprenticeships

‘First of its kind’ i-zine gives Leeds students taste of apprenticeships
Leeds City Council executive member for employment, enterprise and opportunity, Councillor Mohammed Rafique and What Could I Be? director, Tim Coulson, with Year 7 students Kane Lawrence, Oliver Ung and Aimee Stott.

A pioneering i-zine, thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, is being given to every Year 7 pupil in Leeds so they can learn about apprenticeships, thanks to a collaboration between the local authority and a specialist social enterprise.

The i-zine, a 20-page tabloid, ‘What Could I Be? Apprenticeships’, has been published by Leeds City Council in collaboration with social enterprise, What Could I Be? (WCiB), a specialist educational publisher with a base in Leeds.

A total of 10,000 copies of the i-zine, with a four-page supplement for parents, are being distributed to 48 Leeds City Council schools with a copy for each of the 8,500 Year 7 pupils, aged between 11 and 12.

It is the sixth i-zine dealing with different aspects of working life created by WCiB to address a shortage of ‘age-appropriate’, engaging, impartial, career information to broaden pupils’ understanding of working life while they are still open to ideas, and support long-term recruitment by local businesses.

Publication follows National Apprenticeship Week that included Leeds City Council’s Apprenticeship Recruitment Fair at Leeds Arena attended by more than 120 national and regional employers.

Leeds City Council Executive Member for Employment, Enterprise and Opportunity, Councillor Mohammed Rafique, said: “We know from our conversations with schools that Year 7 pupils are often keen to understand more about the world of work and the opportunities open to them.

“Judging from the feedback at our Apprenticeship Recruitment Fair held this month, this type of publication is something that people have wanted to see for some time, and we are sure that pupils and their parents will find it very useful.”

Each WCiB i-zine distills information from global, national and regional market trends and helps meet the Gatsby Report on Good Career Guidance benchmarks by supporting ‘transition’ pupils; targeting labour market information regionally and providing a copy for each pupil.  Previous editions have covered Builders & Makers and Law & Society.

WCiB director, Tim Coulson, who previously worked in regional newspapers in the UK and Australia, said: “Education authorities and schools are responsible for careers guidance but are under pressure and short of suitable resources. Our carefully researched i-zines support them with appropriate material for Year 7 pupils, still at the ‘dreaming’ phase of considering what they will do.

“Schools no longer use text books and parents have fewer opportunities to see teaching materials. Our i-zines are printed copies so children can take them home and discuss them with their parents.

“We chose apprenticeships because, for many families, the cost of university is prohibitive and starting work with big debts is not ideal for many young people. Career and further education planning needs to be considered earlier, especially if parents want to save for their children’s further education. Being able to plan ahead helps local businesses as well as the pupils.”