St John Ambulance seeks thousands of recruits for youth service and free Level 2 training

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A UK charity is looking to expand its youth intake to help keep school children off the streets and away from a life of crime, Personnel Today has learned.

First aid charity St John Ambulance aims to recruit thousands more volunteers between the ages of 16 and 24 to fill posts in its youth service, which offers school briefings about how young people can look after themselves, and provides first-aid at local events.

In return the youngsters could work towards Level 2 training for free the equivalent of five GCSEs graded A to C, to help start them on the path to a proper career and not fall into a cycle of “social depravation”, according to HR chief Martyn Lowe.

He said: “A lot of people who seek basic level skills have not achieved this in the school system. Before you know it [they]’re in depravation. A youth team leader at our charity will go on a course at Level 2, and from an HR perspective, this is providing the start of a career structure for youth workers.”

Lowe, who’s been in the post of head of HR and organisational development for four years, added that many of the youth volunteers at St John’s did not have GCSEs, and by achieving qualifications with the charity they were likely to set themselves up for a career in the health sector, such as the NHS.

“One of the main drivers for young people to join is to get skills which provide an access route into the NHS. It provides them with a proper career path and focus – it’s one part of the solution to getting young people off the streets.”

St John’s is a volunteer-led charity, with 43,000 unpaid workers, 25,000 of which are aged 16-24. Just 2,500 people have paid employment contracts.

“Our youth wing is there to develop young people – expanding the capacity of the youth service has wider societal objectives, it’s a win-win,” he added.

In July ministers unveiled the government’s £100m youth crime action plan which advocates greater street-based police enforcement, targeted action, earlier intervention and greater support for parents.

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