A 105-year-old organisation representing Jewish university students has opened its doors to apprentices promising workplace representation and university-style socials.
The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) is set to launch a recruitment drive for its new apprenticeships network during next month’s National Apprenticeships Week.
Jewish apprentices that join the network automatically become full members of UJS, giving them voting rights at conferences and access to advice and advocacy services.
The initiative is led by Matty Fisher, digital engagement, apprenticeships, and access to work officer at the UJS.
“When I’ve been speaking to apprentices, they love doing an apprenticeship. But the things they don’t have, which university students have, are the opportunities to socialise and meet people, join societies and stuff like that.
“Basically, apprentices now have the same access to the same things that university students have access to, which is really exciting,” Fisher told FE Week.
When an apprentice signs up, either themselves or through their training provider or employer, Fisher links them up with their local university’s Jewish society (JSoc). Apprentices get full access to JSoc socials, talks and networking events.
While membership is open to all apprentices, Fisher said some social events, like pub socials, may only be accessible to apprentices 18 or over.
Fisher hopes to grow the network and build campaigns around issues affecting Jewish apprentices in education and the workplace, alongside a programme of social and professional networking events.
“We are representing apprentices on a national level. There are specific things that Jewish apprentices might need in the workplace, such as being able to leave early on a Friday for the Sabbath.”
The network will also help apprentices request time off for Jewish festivals and offer guidance should training, exams or assessments fall during those periods.
The network has also been granted two spaces on the National Society for Apprentices’ leadership team to “ensure representation on a national level” for Jewish apprentices.
While there’s no official data on the number of Jewish apprentices, Fisher said UJS launched the network following growing popularity of apprenticeships within the Jewish community.
“I’m now getting invited to Jewish schools, especially in London, who are asking me to speak specifically about apprenticeships as an option.”
Training providers and apprentices can find out how to join the network on the UJS website: www.ujs.org.uk/apprenticeships
Feature image: Matty Fisher, Union of Jewish Students