Mizen apprenticeship launch

PUBLISHED: 16:09 28 January 2009 | UPDATED: 16:06 25 August 2010

AN APPRENTICESHIP scheme has been launched in honour of slain teen Jimmy Mizen.

AN APPRENTICESHIP scheme has been launched in honour of slain teen Jimmy Mizen.

Southwark housing management firm JMB Leathermarket launched its first apprenticeship scheme with Lewisham College last Thursday.

The firm's chiefs were 'inspired' by Mr Mizen, 16, from Lee, who had completed work experience with them and was due to take up an apprenticeship with them months after he died last May.

His father, Barry Mizen, said: "This company had never done regular work experience, they did it as a favour for a friend.

"Jimmy impressed them so much that they wanted him back and offered him a job and apprenticeship.

"Of course, he died, but he made such an impression on them, they said it showed them 'the potential of youth'."

The scheme is being mediated by Southwark council, which employs JMB Leathermarket to look after its housing stock.

The Mizens hope the council will lead the way for neighbouring boroughs by expanding the project by putting more employers in touch with colleges.

Mr Mizen, himself a small businessman who owns the shoe menders in High Street, Sidcup, added: "The problem is business owners have to find the people themselves and take on a risk.

"The great thing about this is that it takes the pressure off them."

One of the first two young people to benefit from the scheme was Alex Hale, 17, of Mayplace Road West, Bexleyheath.

The former Bexleyheath School student is three weeks into a painting and decorating apprenticeship with JMB Leathermarket.

He said: "It's brilliant, you get more reality than you do at college and you get to do more.

"I would like to get a job with them and maybe one day have my own business.

"It would be really hard to get a job straight from college without an apprenticeship."

The government currently provides a range of free courses for employers under its Train to Gain scheme, but employers are often slow to take the offer up.

For more information on Train to Gain ring 0800 015 55 45.

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