Scheme helps unemployed get lives back on track

PUBLISHED: 14:00 04 June 2012

Job Centre Plus Tim Cowley with N-Gage student Eloise Ryan and Weston College recruitment coordinator James Wilmot.

Job Centre Plus Tim Cowley with N-Gage student Eloise Ryan and Weston College recruitment coordinator James Wilmot.

Weston College

A RADICAL scheme devised by Weston College and Job Centre Plus is targeting long-term unemployed young people and aims to go UK-wide.

N-Gage 19+ offers a unique eight week intense programme covering job skills, personal and social development, volunteering and business enterprise for those aged 19 to 24.

Latest Government figures show nearly 1,000 young people aged 16 – 24 are unemployed in North Somerset.

At the end of eight weeks two students signed up for the Prince’s Trust programme, one is on a full-time IT course at Weston College, another has been offered a job and the rest have decided to follow new career paths.

Justine Grimstead, aged 19, of Coleridge Road, Weston, is set to go to Cornwall to be a riding instructor. She said: “I’d only ever used a computer for Facebook, now I can do Power Point, Word and Excel. It was great to meet up with other people and not feel so isolated.”

Her mentor Lisa Smith, who owns The Pet Studio dog boarding kennels and grooming business in Congresbury, offered face-to-face, telephone and email support.

She said: “I was approached by the college and it’s the first time I have done anything like this.

“I know how difficult it is for people to get a job without experience first.”

Partnership manager of Job Centre Plus Tim Cowley, said: “We expected a 50 per cent drop out but to have all but one of them complete the course or obtain a job offer is brilliant.

Sheila Birch, aged 64, of Canberra Road, Weston, is the mother of one of the N-Gage students, 24-year-old Charlotte Gould. She said: “It’s been difficult to see Charlotte unemployed for so long. She became very despondent when all she could get was seasonal work.

“This course has helped her get her life back.”

Eloise Ryan, aged 25, of Worle, is a full-time mum to her seven-year-old son. She said: “It’s been a great experience and made me think I could be a social worker.”

For more information on courses at Weston College please call The Hub on 01934 411 751 or go to www.weston.ac.uk

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