Apprentice star Katie Bulmer-Cooke is helping young people take the Springboard to opportunity.
Katie has signed on as patron of training organisation Springboard after witnessing its results firsthand.
She was approached by trust secretary Denise Wilson after Springboard’s annual Gem awards last year.
“I spoke at the beginning of the evening and then presented the awards – that’s when I first worked with Denise,” said Katie.
“It is really important for young people’s achievements to be marked.”
When Katie made it clear she was keen to be more involved in Springboard’s work, Denise asked her if she was willing to become a patron of the trust.
“I felt really privileged to be asked,” said Katie.
“Springboard is such a big part of Sunderland and work-based learning is really important now.
“There need to be more options than going to university and going down the traditional route.”
Denise believes Katie will prove the ideal role model for youngsters on Springboard’s courses.
Denise said: “We thought that because she is such a positive person and really interested in what the young people in the centre are doing, that it would be a great partnership going forward.
“We are trying to close the skills gap – we want young people to look at learning in the workplace, rather than in the classroom, where they can get practical hands-on experience.
“We offer apprenticeships in more than 16 vocational areas and there are a lot of opportunities for young people.”
Katie is clear on what she hopes her new role will achieve, adding: “I would love to motivate people to go out there and get what they want.
“To realise that whether it is a qualification, a job or starting your own business, to realise you can have what you want.
“You can have the job, the career, even the business if you just work for it.”
Springboard is holding an open day at its Pallion Rivergreen Centre, between 4pm and 6pm, on March 14. Anyone is welcome.