Apples help to squeeze out untapped potential of ‘talented’ young people

Oct 4, 2023 | News

Confidence-boosting work experience plus a dash of nature connection is a powerful recipe, say those behind an apple-themed programme in Cornwall

An apple a day may or may not keep the doctor away, but could they help get young people into work or training?

That’s the hope this week at the in Cornwall, where apples grown in orchards at the attraction have been harvested, pressed, cooked and served to visitors as part of a programme supporting young people who are not in education, employment or training.

Among the local varieties harvested during the programme – known as the Apple Academy – were Duke of Cornwall, Improved Keswick, Tregonna King, Pig’s Nose, Snell’s Glass, Pear and Golden Noble apples.

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The young people then headed to the kitchen with Eden’s head chef Mike Greer to rustle up some apple crumble and chutney, before sharing the end result – plus juice – with visitors.

“The Apple Academy is just one example of the work going on at Eden, as we continue to help build relationships between people and aid them in gaining a wider understanding and connection to the natural world,” said Greer.

“Food is such a powerful medium to demonstrate what can be achieved when we come together.”

Eden’s head chef Mike Greer and two participants with their harvest

The participants are enrolled on the Compass project, a partnership led by Cornwall council, and part-funded by the European Social Fund. It aims to support 1,800 young people aged 15-24 to find their way into education, employment or training throughout Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Statistics released by the ONS earlier this year showed that the amount of people aged between 16 and 24 who are not in employment, education or training was up to 11.5% in the final quarter of 2022 – the biggest rise in this number in a decade.

David Aynsley, the Compass project officer at Eden, said: “Groups such as these demonstrate a huge, untapped workforce of highly talented people, who just need a little help and guidance to help them fulfill their potential.”

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