THERE are a lack of job opportunities and training schemes in the Carshalton area, it was claimed last night. 

Fabio Riccio, 20, who lives in Carshalton Beeches, felt lost despite gaining three A-Levels at The John Fisher School in Purley

However he says his life was transformed when he was encouraged to join the apprenticeship scheme, Leadership Through Sport & Business (LTSB).

The pioneering programme, which helps young disadvantaged people secure top jobs with blue chip companies, recently awarded Fabio with a once in a lifetime trip to New York City this summer, after winning ‘Apprentice of the Year’.

Now working as an Accounts Trainee at Berg Kaprow Lewis LLP in London, Fabio wants to encourage other youngsters to follow suit, as he strongly feels schools should offer an alternative to university. 

He said: “I don’t think schools these days prepare you for the workplace, I think they only prepare you for going to university.

“And there aren’t a lot of opportunities in the Carshalton area. There are small firms but there’s no schemes that I’m aware of that would help anyone.”

A YouGov poll of 1,624 people found that half of the public thought that there was too much emphasis on academic subjects and that schools need to be pushing youngsters towards the best opportunities available to each individual, rather than worrying about how they appear on paper.

Fabio added: “I never got the opportunity to go to a careers advisor, it was seen as a place for people who weren’t doing well. If you were succeeding the impression was that you were going to university. 

“LTSB needs to be a more recognised programme because if I hadn’t taken the risk of joining the programme I would be at university today, and I didn’t want to be paying off a huge debt. It’s the biggest risk I’ve taken in my life but it’s paying off.

“I’m really excited to go to New York! This year the LTSB programme has shaped me as a person, I’m more of a leader and it’s really helped in terms of where I am now. I’m supervising juniors at BKL even though I’m still a junior myself. I’ve built up a lot of experience already and grown in confidence.

“LTSB has made me feel like I’m capable of anything, the sky is the limit.”

Fabio explains that LTSB’s four month preparation phase at the beginning of the course is what really transformed him into becoming a leader, and gave him the “cutting edge” over other candidates when it came to the interview stage. 

He said: “In September 2015 I started with LTSB, we were going to guest speaker events and employability workshops where financial professionals from firms like NEX, CME and Goldman Sachs looked at our CVs and gave us mock interviews. In no time at all I had a job at BKL!

“Whenever we had a group task people would look at me to take initiative and take control of the situation – I was the one to turn to which was a great feeling because I never thought that I was a leader but now I know that I am.”

There was a time when Fabio found himself really struggling with his workload, but instead of giving up he turned to the support staff at LTSB who helped him through this difficult period.  

Fabio said: “I was at breaking point when I first started at BKL. There was a difference in the style of work, to the point where I was working really late in the evening just to get the work done and keep everyone happy. Debs (Barlow, LTSB Employment Director) helped me a lot to overcome this and now everything is working out really well. 

“There is no scheme that gets you from secondary school to the workplace as well as LTSB. The preparation they give you and the skills they’ve taught me, even things about myself that I didn’t know, they’ve given me that cutting edge over other people.” 

David Pinchin launched LTSB in 2011 after a successful career in the city where he co-founded brokers Tradition Financial Services in 1985.

He said: “Fabio is an amazing young man who should be extremely proud of his achievements. Our programme is so much more than an apprenticeship scheme, we have worked with over 230 young people so far, and are about to start recruiting another 100.

“I am deeply moved and inspired by what we have achieved over the last 5 years and am looking forward to the next five with great excitement. Our outcomes and impact have been extremely positive and dramatic in many cases. We have over 60 employers but can never have too many.”

To become an employer please contact employment director Debs Barlow: Or to apply for the scheme please go to the website

Article supplied by Will Moore