Anthony Temple (20) has just finished his apprenticeship at the Salmon Youth Centre. We spoke to him to find out how his journey at Salmon started and what he got out of the nine intensive months with us. 

“Even though I finished my first year at college, I had to stop my BTEC Level 3 sports course as I was no longer able to get EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance) and didn’t qualify for any bursary as there was not enough funding for 18-year-olds. I live with my mum but she wasn't working so I didn’t have money to get to college. 

I was desperately looking for a job. I was already volunteering at Salmon so when the apprenticeship opened up I decided to apply. I was thinking about a career in youth work so this seemed to fit really well.

I was really excited when I got the position. The main difference from being a volunteer was that I was more involved in clubs and projects. I also got to know the staff better, and of course, I got to build better and deeper relationships with the young people and some of their parents. 

The highlight of my time here was that I got the Community Games ‘Shining Light’ award due to 'my outstanding contribution to Salmon and the support I was giving to both staff and young people'.

On the day of the award, I got a phone call from BBC News and they invited me to talk about my award on live television. This is when I realised how much I have changed because of Salmon.

If I had received this phone call a year before, I would have never accepted the invitation. I didn’t feel confident to speak in public at all. But now when they called I said yes immediately. I must admit, when I hung up I regretted it as I felt so nervous. But at the same time I thought I will never get another change to do something like this.

Becoming an apprentice has really boosted my confidence. I have taken on so much responsibility and a leadership role. I also feel more confident to be in the spotlight and I know this will help me in the future. I am more confident when I speak, don’t stumble as much or feel awkward, and have learnt to do networking.

The hardest bit of my time at Salmon has been keeping up with the coursework but I know I had to do this to get a Level 3. I had to keep on going, because if I would have given up I would lose a vital opportunity to invest in my future.

What I have learnt is that other people see me differently from how I feel. Everyone has been so positive and time and time they have told me I did a good job and that I am a good leader. I never felt like that myself. But now I can see what they mean..."

One more interesting fact about Anthony is that he got involved at the London Youth Advisory Board. You can find his profile here

Apprentices are young people who are gaining work experience while working on a Level 3 youth work qualification. They spend thirty-five hours a week for up to nine months at Salmon on a paid salary. This gives them access to higher education, which they previously would not have had, or it leads to the start of a career in youth work. The apprentices are very important to Salmon, as we get to invest a lot of time in them, helping them to grow on a personal, political, social and spiritual level. Also, as they are still young themselves, they are often very good at connecting to the young people we work with and a lot of young people look up to them.

Anthony with 2012 Olympic athlete, Abi Oyepitan, who attended the Shining Light award cemerony (top) and talking live at BBC London News (bottom)

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