Belfast Telegraph

Apprentice inspires Shankey scheme

Entrepreneur who set up Style Academy for trainees backs Telegraph campaign

By Clare Weir

Northern Ireland male grooming expert Jason Shankey says he was so inspired by being involved with the hit BBC show The Apprentice, he decided to set up his own scheme to educate and employ young people.

He is the latest big-name figure to throw his weight behind the Belfast Telegraph's '100 Jobs In 100 Days' campaign which aims to create jobs this summer for young people in Northern Ireland.

Mr Shankey established his own men-only grooming concept here back in 1997 and has become known across the UK thanks to his product ranges and appearances on TV and in magazines.

His support echoes that of Apprentice judge Lord Sugar who yesterday gave his backing to the campaign.

On The Apprentice tonight the two teams on the BBC programme have to create luxury product ranges. Sterling, consisting of Ricky and Tom, opt for a luxury male grooming product range, called Modern Gentleman.

Mr Shankey is shown advising Tom Gearing on a high end, but affordable selection of products in his Fulham Broadway studio in London.

The boys then set up a prototype shop where customers and secret industry experts provide them with feedback on the product range.

The stylist said he was impressed by Tom, a 23-year-old director of a fine wine investment company.

"I was picked as someone to talk to as I had developed a range of male grooming products and Tom wanted to talk to me about how I went about it and my success," he said.

"Tom seemed like a good guy, he was very interested and seemed to take a lot of notice of what I was trying to tell him.

"We are a small company so for 10m people to be able to see us and our products will be a big boost."

And he revealed the show helped him develop his own apprenticeship scheme.

"Filming took place quite a while ago and during the process I started to think about how many young people we have and how many people are struggling to get a job or are not getting into the industries they want to."

Last month the Belfast Telegraph told how nine jobs are being created with the establishment of Mr Shankey's new hairdressing school in Belfast.

The Junior Style Academy aims to create careers for the best up-and-coming hairdressers, whilst also helping families whose budgets have been stretched during the difficult economic climate.

The firm has spent over six months training apprentices free of charge, who are now ready to run the academy, which will operate from the company's Ballyhackamore and Lisburn Road salons.

"We absolutely support the Belfast Telegraph's campaign," Jason said.

"If we continue as we are there is going to be a generation of millions of kids growing up without essential skills to do the jobs which will be needed when the economy recovers. University is not the be-all and end-all and there are plenty of successful entrepreneurs to prove that.

"Apprenticeships are incredibly important and the more that are on offer, the better," he added.

From Stormont to business world ... support pours in

By Margaret canning

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton have given their support to the Belfast Telegraph's drive to create 100 apprenticeships in 100 days.

The campaign aims to encourage businesses to consider the benefits an apprentice can bring to their company while also giving a young person the chance to pursue a fulfiling career.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said that the campaign was "excellent".

"Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to learn a new skill while also being in a working environment," she said.

"But it's also excellent for employers as it allows them to train people into the practice and workings of the business. It works both ways."

Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton said: "As someone who came into business through the apprenticeship route, I am a firm believer in the value which they can bring, to both the individual and the business. I therefore welcome the Belfast Telegraph's campaign and encourage employers to embrace the opportunity to offer work-based training placements that will help them meet specific needs in their business."

Businesses are also continuing to pledge their support. Aaron McConnell, owner of Kilkeel butchers Mourne Meats, said employing John Graham and Colin Thorogood as apprentices had benefited his company.

"I came through the butchery course and did my apprenticeship at this shop after the gentleman who owned it retired.

"I saw what it did for me so I'm only too happy to help the young people and drive them onto a trade," he said.

Northgate Managed Services has also spoken about the role apprentices can play. Chief executive Andy Ross said it was the first IT services company in Northern Ireland to introduce an apprenticeship scheme, which has now been running for three years.

"Apprenticeship schemes work and I would very much endorse the Belfast Telegraph's campaign. I would encourage more Northern Ireland companies to get involved and to investigate the apprenticeship options that are available."

He said university was not the only route into IT. "Since introducing our scheme we have received applications from a diverse range of backgrounds including students, chefs and construction sector workers - all of whom have gone on to be highly productive within the organisation."

How to join 100 jobs in 100 days

If you are a business owner or chief executive interested in creating a new apprenticeship, please email and we will let readers know of your interest.

You should also find out about the Government-funded Apprenticeships NI programme by visiting or calling 0800 0854 573 for more details.

You can also find out more from training suppliers in your area, which will develop a training plan with you.

If you go ahead, you will be required to show evidence that you will employ the person on a permanent contract for a minimum to 21 hours per week. The apprenticeship can be created for a current staff member to give them more training.

For all apprentices, you will have to come up with a personal learning plan.

Apprenticeships usually take between two and four years, depending on the complexity of the apprenticeship and the number of qualifications required. It also depends on whether you are offering a Level 2 or Level 3 apprenticeship. There are no Level 1 apprenticeships.

Wages are agreed between the apprentices and employer, but minimum wage regulations apply.

Employer incentive payments are available of between £250 and £1,500 when the apprenticeship ends.

Those payments come from the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) but are paid through the training supplier. An employer will be informed about the potential incentive when they sign up to an apprenticeship programme.

For under-25s, DEL undertakes to pay full costs of 'off-the-job' training included in the Apprenticeships NI framework and contributes 50% of the funding for 25s and over.