3 February 2015

Community celebrates young people’s ‘Positive Directions’ with Skills Training UK

Around 60 young people who have improved their prospects at Skills Training UK’s learning centres in Wembley and Hounslow attended a celebration event at Wembley Stadium on 11th December. The London Borough of Brent, as well as community organisations who support the young people and employers including BT and Harness Care who offer work experience placements and Apprenticeships, attended to present awards for commitment to learning and achievement.

The young people who attend Skills Training UK’s Positive Directions Study Programme and Traineeships for the Service Sector have left school with few or no qualifications, or with GCSE grades which are unable to get them into Sixth Form or Further Education. Many face many personal challenges and barriers such as housing problems and some have learning difficulties which have held them back.

Motivational speakers at the event included actor Jonathan Taylor, who has appeared in BBC’s The Hour and Eastenders and with the National Theatre. He grew up on the Stonebridge estate in the Wembley area and had a difficult, negative period in his teenage years before he was picked to star in Channel Four’s ‘My Shakespeare’ which changed his life. He encouraged the young people to stay positive, not to fear the future and to learn from the things that don’t work out.

Another speaker at the event was Jack Downey from BT Technology, Service & Operations at BT Tower, which has a new partnership with Skills Training UK for learners on Traineeships. He said: “When Skills Training UK came to BT we jumped at the opportunity to help. It’s been absolutely phenomenal to see the change in the young people over a two-week period of work experience.”

Maera Khan, one of the young people to do a work placement at BT Tower, was presented with a Learner Achievement Award by Martin Dunford OBE, Chief Executive of Skills Training UK.

Raymond Whyte, Senior Project Manager at London Borough of Brent and John Galligan, School Improvement Team Manager and 14-19 Lead at the London Borough of Brent, represented Gail Tolly, Director of Children’s Services, in speaking and presenting awards.

Employers who Skills Training UK has built effective relationships with include Sainsbury’s Stanmore and Harness Care in Wembley, which has taken on 26 young people as Apprentices. Graham Bostock from Harness Care, who attended the event to present awards, said: “As long as Skills Training UK is here then I’ll be here offering opportunities to the young people.”

Other guest speakers at the Celebration event were Roisin Healy (age 15), a Member of Brent Youth Parliament and Daniel Smyth, a psychotherapist from Sport and Thought, who uses football as a therapy to combat aggression.

As well as Learner Achievement awards, Skills Training UK presented community partnership awards to Jack Downey of BT, Odette Stapley, a Youth Contract Mentor for Brent and Hounslow, and Karena Brown, Education Officer for Care Leavers in Hounslow.

Skills Training UK helps young people develop the skills and individual confidence to change their lives for the better. They receive individual guidance, tutoring in English, Maths and ICT and careers support to open their horizons. Through work experience opportunities and development of employability skills (CV writing, interview techniques and how to present themselves) they make positive steps towards attaining an Apprenticeship or getting into Further Education or a job.

Skills Training UK’s Study Programme is for 16-18 year olds with few or no qualifications and its new Traineeships for the Service Sector are for those who are more ready for work. Skills Training UK has a wide range of established relationships with local employers including Harness Care, Sainsbury’s Stanmore store and BT. See www.skillstraininguk.com and www.positivedirectionsuk.com

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