Dad goes from signing on to signing a permanent contract thanks to adult apprenticeship

A 47-year-old Dad from Salford who has been struggling to get by on zero hours contracts is celebrating after discovering he has landed a permanent role after completing an adult apprenticeship with Liberty Group.

Just seven months ago, Treasure Sitole was queuing up at the job centre and taking temporary contracts wherever he could to make ends meet and take care of his wife and two young children.

Now, during National Apprenticeship Week (4-8 March) he is sharing his inspirational story of ‘knocking on doors’ and taking opportunities which saw him turn an eight-week work experience placement with Liberty into a permanent career as a qualified electrician.

Treasure said: “A few months ago I never thought I’d be sitting here with a great career ahead of me. I had been job-hunting for a long time which was very dispiriting. I had been to college and done some training to become an electrician but when the reality of searching for a job came, no one would take me without two years’ experience. I was in a complete catch 22.

“Some weeks I’d have temporary work and others I’d have nothing. It was very stressful and difficult to manage our family's finances.

“I have always been determined and taken any opportunity that comes my way. When I was offered a work experience placement with Liberty via the jobcentre, I jumped at the chance.

“Once I was in there I had a chance to demonstrate my skills and enthusiasm and then I was offered an adult apprenticeship. We all tend to think of teenagers and young people as apprentices so I think it’s brilliant that older people who want to progress in their careers can benefit from them too.

“I started my apprenticeship in December and I’m completing my electrician qualifications as I work. In a couple of months my training will be finished and I have been offered a job at the end of it which is just fantastic.

“I have been chaperoned by the experienced electricians and have been going into tenants’ homes doing everything from bathroom lighting to fitting smoke alarms.”

Liberty Group specialises in the full range of property services including reactive and planned maintenance across all technical disciplines, refurbishments, mechanical and electrical projects, construction and renewable energy.

Liberty is committed to creating apprenticeship opportunities to give people of all ages a springboard to a career in their chosen trade.

The firm currently has close to 50 apprentices with many going on to become permanent employees in everything from customer services to repairs and maintenance.

Treasure’s supervisor is Dan Fowler, Electrical Site Supervisor at Liberty. He said: “When Treasure joined us for work experience we spotted his talent almost immediately and knew he could be a real asset to our team of electricians.

“Treasure needed a few more qualifications and I’m pleased that we could invest in him by enabling him to complete his assessments as he worked and gained valuable experience.

“He’s gone from struggling on benefits to having a great career ahead of him with Liberty. It’s a pleasure to have such a safe pair of hands on the team. He is a real inspiration to anyone thinking of starting a new career later in life.”

Group Managing Director of Liberty, Ray Jones, said: “Apprentices are a key part of Liberty’s plan for the future and we currently have 47 apprentices working in 11 different service areas. Investing in our people allows us to develop highly skilled teams who do things the Liberty way, whilst also providing fantastic opportunities for colleagues. Hearing stories like Treasure’s is a great and real reminder of the personal benefits that apprenticeships can offer at any time of someone’s career.”

Treasure added: “To anyone who is in a similar position to where I was I’d say do not give up. Keep being proactive and knocking on doors and no matter what opportunity you get, always do your best. If you make a positive impression you never know what it could lead to.

“It’s such a relief to know myself and my family have a great future ahead and I’m very proud to have a trade now and a career for life.”

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