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Apprentices and the EU: Poppy, Sean and Jazz give their thoughts

Friday 03-06-2016 - 14:25

The EU benefits lots of different people in, lots of different ways. There’s already been lots said about the benefit of EU membership to university students, such as funding for research and the ability to take part on Erasmus study programmes easily, but what’s the benefit to apprentices?

We spoke to Poppy Wolfarth, Sean McNamee and Jazz Manning from the National Society of Apprentices Leadership Team to find out what they think the benefits are for apprentices to stay in the EU.

Poppy says:

“I completed Team Leading apprenticeship whist in a job role completely funded by the European Social Fund (ESF).  This was a regeneration programme for low skills workers in my local area.  Currently there is around £8 million worth of ESF funding available in the North West targeted at regenerating areas and up skilling people. This is something the UK will not have access to if we decide to leave the EU.

"Additionally, if you’re 19 or over and completing a co-funded apprenticeship, it could mean your apprenticeship is again funded through the ESF as match funding, which we are only entitled to if we remain part of the EU.

"The EU benefitted me outside of my education too. Many of my local parks and youth centres were built and subsidised by EU funding. Those parks and youth centres are where I was supported, as a young person from a deprived area, and helped me become the person I am today.”

Jazz, who lived in Spain for 13 years and moved back to the UK at 17, took up a Customer Service Apprenticeship at Level 2.

“Some of the school qualifications I took in Spain aren’t valid in the UK, which is something I think we should work on if we remain in the EU. I took an apprenticeship because it was my best option. It’s great that the UK is learning from good practice in other European countries where apprenticeships have been the norm for quite a few years.

"I recently attended an event attended by representatives from different unions representing vocational and technical education students, including apprentices, from across Europe. Being able to learn from each other about our different education systems was really beneficial, it’s given me plenty of ideas to bring back to the NSoA to help us create better apprenticeships in the UK, and it also makes me excited that having such a universally understood qualification means that if I wanted to work in Europe, I would be ready for it.”

For Sean, the EU supports him and his friends do the things they love.

“I’m part of a motor sports team which regularly travels between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Being from Northern Ireland allows me to own either an Irish passport or British passport, and being in the EU allows me freedom of travel across the border. Some members of our team have a British passport whilst others have an Irish passport. Travelling together with a selection of passports could be complicated if we weren’t in the EU, as the EU allows us to travel across European boarders more freely.

"Lots of our motor sports equipment comes from across Europe, and if we were to leave, I’d be worried that there would be an import duty imposed on parts, making it the sport more expensive and less accessible to young participants like myself.”

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