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Jobs and training for young people with Sussex Central YMCA

Sussex Central YMCA have teamed up with Sussex Downs College

to make a real difference to young people in Brighton and Hove.

So far, 30 young people have job placements through the Future Jobs Fund, a government scheme aimed at giving paid work placements and training for 18 to 24 year olds. A further 72 jobs will be created over the next 14 months.

The placements are for six months, with the possibility of extending some to 12 months and beyond. Roles include administration and reception posts, working in charity shops, on the collection vans plus in the warehouse in Mile Oak which is Sussex Central YMCA’s new warehouse and refurbishment centre for white and electrical goods.

Stuart Johnson, Head of Youth and Sport for Sussex Central YMCA, one of the driving forces behind delivering the new initiative said: “Our partnership with Sussex Downs College allows us to offer our trainees work with formal vocational training. Sussex Downs College have been excellent, pro-active, supportive of the need of both the trainees and us and very professional. They have just got on with the job, which is brilliant.

“We have trainees with very different abilities and needs and this is where the one to one support given by the assessors is critical. Together we can tailor our service to meet the learner’s needs, not ours or the colleges. The college deliver business administration NVQ, retail skills knowledge technical certificate, warehousing and storage technical certificate and more. Plus they are working with us to develop other courses such as electrical PAT testing and construction skills certification scheme for our trainees.

“With assessors coming to us, the trainees do not have to worry about travelling to college; it really is the college coming to us. Once in post they are given on-the-job-training plus specific training courses, with Sussex Downs College delivering the NVQ and other vocational qualifications and that all important first wage packet. The programme is a spring board and at the end of the work placement the young person will be helped to find another job with writing a new CV, interview techniques and have that all important aspect – a recent work reference from a related job.”

Dan Belcher and Cheney Price, both 19, work for 25 hours per week in the warehouse undertaking repairs, refurbishment and loading.

As Dan said: “I am benefitting from the one to one tuition and guidance. I had sort of lost my way and my prospects were not great. We have been here four months and hopefully we will come away with a certificate reflecting our knowledge, so hopefully we will be better placed to progress onto full time work.”

Assessor, Steve Davis said: “As we are going through the training I like to get into a conversation where I am asking the lads to describe what they know and then we can work together to fill the gaps. This type of learning is a million miles always from sitting in a classroom.”

As Shane concluded: “When you are in a classroom you can hide, and let someone else answer the questions, but working with Steve we work together and the answers just seem to come. We are learning without realising it at times.”

Liz Poole, 20, is another young person benefitting from the Future Jobs Fund but this time working in a different environment at the youth centre in Marmion Road Hove. Here Liz is working in administration. It is a vibrant and at times noisy place full of young demanding people. It is a tough and demanding role including answering questions, dealing with telephone enquiries, using the computer, sorting out the post; you name it Liz does it.

Liz sums up her feelings: “The Future Jobs Fund is providing me with the knowledge and expertise that I need to move forward. My assessor, Tina Tant, is so helpful and understanding, I really enjoy the work here and I hope it may become permanent.”

Another trainee, Shelly Alder, 21, is also in the front line this time working at the electrical store in George Street, Hove. Shelly is helping to sell the items that have come into the warehouse back in Mile Oak, as all the items have now been PAT tested and are safe and ready to find new homes.

Shelly is already well on her way to achieving her goal as Shelly confirms: “I have gained so much confidence whilst I have been here; I hardly spoke when I first joined but now I am enjoying the learning. My assessor Pat Lake is working with me to complete all the units. I have already passed customer service, retail law and I am looking forward to merchandising and banking. I have always wanted to work in retail and this is providing a real opportunity for me to get on the ladder.”

Nick Ludford, Skills Advisor from Sussex Downs College added: “We are pleased to working alongside Sussex Central YMCA providing training for the Future Jobs Fund. There is a real need for supportive training with qualifications to underpin the placement program and more importantly allow young people to move on into the wider workforce with more work experience and importantly with better qualifications. We are so confident and proud in the work that is being done here which is why we are nominating Sussex Central YMCA for the FE Sussex training provider of the year award.”

“It seems strange to say but I genuinely believe we can offer flexible and tailored learning solutions to any organisation. Although we are a big college we are able to respond quickly and positively to new challenges. Our partnership with Sussex Central YMCA is moving forward rapidly. It is quite possible we will help in the development of a skills centre covering a broad range of learning opportunities in the near future.”

Any employers or businesses interested in training programmes can get more information from Sussex Downs College, Employer Training on 0845 2302 007.

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