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Despite a 16 mile bus journey followed by a two mile walk to work, 19 year old Harry Hobbis from Bromsgrove is thoroughly enjoying his Level two Business and Admin Apprenticeship with a fostering agency in Birmingham, and has hopes of making it into a management position.

He’s come a long way since leaving school to be home-schooled in year seven, after intense bullying led to him attempting to take his own life. Harry, who experiences depression and anxiety, had support from Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant Peter Brooke as part of the Supporting Apprentices pilot scheme, funded by Access to work and delivered by Remploy, the disability employment specialist. 

Harry said: “Before meeting Peter I was feeling quite low. He was really good to talk to and kept checking in with me every week with updates and positive advice. I still have ups and downs but it is much better, as I have Peter to talk to. Even though I’ve now finished my support through Remploy I still have his contact details and I know he’s there, in case I need to talk to him. I’m really enjoying my Apprenticeship, and my employer and colleagues have been absolutely lovely and supportive.”

He added: “I didn’t have much self-esteem to start with but it’s getting much better now. Having Peter to talk to for support and advice really helped. I feel much more confident now.”

The Workplace Mental Health Support Service provides free work-focused mental health support that lasts for six months and is tailored to an individual's needs, helping with coping strategies to enable each person remain in, or return to work.

Peter Brooke, Harry’s Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant at Remploy said: “Harry is a really good chap and is well regarded in his workplace. He has an excellent work ethic and goes to great lengths to work hard, even catching several buses to get to work. He’s getting good support from his employers and doing really well. We are there to offer support when needed, taking a holistic approach to consider all barriers and challenges and to offer practical advice in a non-judgemental way to help address those issues which impact the individual’s continued employment.”

Chris Kingsbury, partnership lead for the Workplace Mental Health Support Service for Apprentices, said: “Young people must have access to receive tailored, individual support to help them overcome any mental health challenges they are facing. We should be challenging the perceptions of employers and training providers, to ensure that they have a strong understanding of mental health in the workplace and an appreciation of the challenges that young people experience, and also to build confidence and knowledge around an appropriate system of support.”

For more information about the Supporting Apprentices service contact 0300 456 8210, or emailing: apprentices@remploy.co.uk, or by visiting www.remploy.co.uk/supportingapprentices.