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The Duke met trainees and employers from East Sussex (photo:WorkingRite).

Duke visits youth employment project

HRH The Duke of York has visited WorkingRite, a charity dedicated to tackling youth unemployment across East Sussex. WorkingRite matches local young people with small, local businesses for a programme of extended, paid training and mentoring, writes Chris Cormack.

The Duke of York (photo:WorkingRite).

The Duke met trainees and local employers at WorkingRite’s Hastings office on Cambridge Road. “Education and skills are keen interests of the Duke and this was a great opportunity for him to learn about WorkingRite’s innovative programme,” says Sandy Campbell, founder and director of the charity.

“Many of our youngsters have struggled with school, or have come from difficult backgrounds, but the WorkingRite programme provides them with good role models. The programme gives them real experience of the workplace and bolsters their confidence. These are all essential for improving young people’s employability and ensuring a more secure, fulfilling adulthood.”

WorkingRite trainees participate in a unique work-based learning and mentoring programme for up to six months and are paid a training allowance of £70 per week. Each young person is paired with an adult mentor in the workplace who not only teaches their mentee the skills of their trade but also guides them in the attributes required in the workplace, such as professionalism, punctuality and enthusiasm.

Mr Campbell explains, “WorkingRite is providing a vital lifeline into employment for young people with limited options post-16. Finding work in the current market is not easy but by training young people on the job and getting their maths and English up to standard, we are bridging the gap between school and the world of work.”

The WorkingRite scheme has led to various satisfying results for participating trainees in East Sussex. Stephen Horsman said, “WorkingRite has given me a chance of six months’ work experience which has motivated me into progressing onto an apprenticeship and a long-term goal of a full-time job with the company I work for.”

Another participant, Laura Watson, said, “I was initially going to attend Rye College to do a design course, but I was offered a placement with Primesigns by WorkingRite and it has turned out to be the best move to make. I have learnt more than I would have at college and been paid to do it. I am about to start an apprenticeship with SCC and I now feel happy that after the apprenticeship, I will progress into a full-time position. WorkingRite has also helped me get a higher level in maths which has helped my progress into college”.

Sean Bassett said, “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I didn’t want to go to college. This placement helped me decide and now I’m about to start an apprenticeship,” while Joe Garcia’s take is that, “I didn’t think I would have been able to do as well as I have, I’m learning loads because I enjoy it and like the people I work with so much.” For Conah Spain, “Having the placement with WorkingRite gave me confidence, and as a result I have a full-time job with HB Ingredients.”

English and maths are also seen as essential for life and work and are integral to the programme. Trainees spend one morning per week in small tutor groups developing their literacy and numeracy skills. Many young people in East Sussex are struggling to find work. In December 2013, the county’s youth unemployment rate was 7%, and higher in Hastings.

Since August, 67% of WorkingRite trainees in Hastings have progressed to a job, further education or an apprenticeship. For those with few qualifications, it offers a viable route into a rewarding career. WorkingRite has two projects in East Sussex – one through Sussex Coast College in Hastings and one direct contract from the Department of Education.

For further information contact: WorkingRite, First Floor Office, 7 Cambridge Road, Hastings TN34 1DJ.

Email: info@workingrite.co.uk, telephone: 0131 476 1050.

Posted 10:59 Thursday, Feb 6, 2014 In: Hastings People

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