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Teen once 'involved in gangs' lands Jaguar apprenticeship

PROUD: Terrence Manhertz (centre) with Platinum directors Murret Mendez (left) and Georgina Mendez

TEENAGE GRADUATE Terrence Manhertz is on the road to success with an apprenticeship at Jaguar Land Rover after scooping a top award at a Birmingham-based training firm.

With encouragement from staff at Platinum Employment Advice and Training Ltd, Manhertz has turned his back on a gang lifestyle to be one of 80 students who received their scrolls during a ceremony at Birmingham Council House.

And in addition he picked up a Pride of Platinum award for being an “exceptional student".

Platinum company directors Murett Mendez and her sister Georgina looked on proudly as all their students were welcomed by Lord Mayor of Birmingham Councillor Ray Hassall receive their diplomas.

Manhertz, 18, from Handsworth, now qualified in electrical installation, told The Voice: “I was totally on the wrong road because I was involved in gangs and drugs, but the people here at Platinum saw past all that and believed in me. They helped me get my life back on track – now I’ve got a future I can be proud of.

“I would say to anyone out there – give this place a try because they never give up on you. They just kept praising me and made me believe in myself, so I got more confident as I went along.”

The event has received cross-party support in Birmingham, attended by Cllr Penny Holbrook (Labour) Cabinet Member for Skills, Learning and Culture, and Conservative leader Cllr Robert Alden.

Many of the students have overcome personal and social barriers to education in order to achieve highly relevant qualifications in motor vehicle studies, construction, plumbing and sports.

For Manhertz, gaining qualifications through Platinum has been life changing.

Georgina Mendez, whose company carries the logo ‘your success is our success,’ said: “Terrence had taken the wrong road in life and had got into a gang and told us he used to carry knives.

“When he first joined us he had trouble engaging with the teaching staff and fellow students, but now he is nothing less than exceptional and has a fantastic future ahead of him like so many of our students.

“Today our graduates can be proud of joining a professional community where they can look forward to holding top positions in the future through sheer hard work and commitment.”

Her sister Murret added: “We have high expectations of our students and encourage them to take charge of their future, meeting fresh challenges, continuing to learn and persevering when the going gets tough.

“From Birmingham, the cross-party support we have received demonstrates to us the respect for our work and accomplishments. We’re already looking forward to the next success stories we’re building for the future.”

Lord Mayor Ray Hassall said: “The students here today have done extremely well with their studies despite facing all sorts of difficulties. They should be proud of themselves and I hope they will go on to gain work in their chosen fields.”