3 February 2015

Inspirational ceremony recognises young people’s “Positive Directions”

Pictured above left to right: Martin Dunford OBE (Chief Executive, Skills Training UK), Gail Tolly, Director of Children’s Services, London Borough of Brent, Abi Osho (Positive Directions Manager), the Mayor of Brent, Councillor  Kana Naheerathan and Raymond Whte, Senior Project Manager, London Borough of Brent.

An inspirational Skills Training UK graduation ceremony held on 2nd July, which was attended by The Mayor of Brent – Councillor Kana Naheerathan at Wembley Stadium, has recognised and celebrated the achievements of around 80 young people from Brent who have made positive strides towards new education and employment opportunities on the Positive Directions programme.

 The London Borough of Brent’s new Director of Children’s Services, Gail Tolly and Senior Project Manager, Raymond Whyte, praised the success of the young people and the partnership with Skills Training UK which helps each young person on Positive Directions to address the personal barriers and multiple barriers they face.

The event was supported by employers Sainsbury’s, Harness Care and Enderly Medical Centre who are providing work experience and apprenticeships for young people on Positive Directions.

Graham Bostock from Harness Care said the young people employed on Apprenticeships after following Positive Directions had ‘blossomed’ and that he looked forward to recruiting more. Representatives also attended from Skills Training UK’s partner organisations who support and refer the young people including ABC Housing, Youth Stop Harrow, Brent Connexions and Crest Academy.

Inspirational speeches were given by two young Brent role models who faced extremely challenging periods in their adolescence and went on to establish their careers through accepting support and working hard to overcome their problems.

21 year-old Aisha Aminu spoke of the gang culture, aggression and alcohol which almost killed her before she turned her life around.

“I’m living proof that no matter how damaged your past is, the future can still be bright. I took a choice and went on a journey and have now put my dreams into action,” she said. She’s now studying for a degree at Northampton University and working with children in care.

29 year-old Jamal Campbell, who used to live in Preston Road in Brent and went to Copland Community School, had long periods of unemployment and personal difficulties. He now works for Channel 5 as a multi-skilled camera and sound operator. He’s also an ambassador for youth unemployment charity Street League.

He said: “Don’t be afraid. Be confident. Be yourself and if you know where you want to go, you will get there. Gain your qualifications. There will be things that stop you. But fix it and keep it going and you’ll make it.”

Three young people – Teana Mamao, Belal Anezi and Sajjiadah (Dee Dee) Perrier, spoke about their experience of Positive Directions which has enabled them to progress their career ambitions.

Dee Dee Perrier said she’d been sitting around at home ‘doing nothing’ because she hadn’t been able to get into Sixth Form College without a pass in GCSE Maths. She said her initial fears of ‘having no friends’ on the course had soon disappeared and she now has “a great family of friends and we share everything together”.

She’s been focusing on her Maths and has her sights set on starting Paddington Sixth Form Academy this September to do Media Studies. Dee Dee’s speech attracted the attention of Jamal Campbell from Channel 5 who offered to arrange work experience at the TV channel once Dee Dee starts Sixth Form College.

Teana Mamao had moved to Brent from the North of England in 2013 and was referred by Crest Sixth Form to improve her skills and qualifications at Positive Directions before starting at Sixth Form College this September. She wants to study Health and Social Care and become a Social Worker.

Belal Anezi has progressed on to work at an estate agency after attending Positive Directions.

Martin Dunford OBE, Chief Executive of Skills Training UK and Chairman of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), praised the young people, saying the most important message was to “Never give up”.

He presented partnership awards to recognise the commitment of Skills Training UK’s local employer and community partners, saying: “We couldn’t do it without our community partners. It’s fantastic to have your support and thank you for working with us.”

Abi Osho, Manager of the Positive Directions programme, said: “Many of our young people have not had the best of times during school. It’s not just about qualifications; in fact qualifications might be the last thing on their minds. We re-engage them, support them, give them a voice and mentor them. All of those ingredients are important.”

Skills Training UK designed Positive Directions exclusively for young people aged 16-24 who have left school or college and have not gone onto further education or found employment. Many have low self-esteem and have left school with no or few qualifications.

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