From education to employment

Essex to welcome new charity-run Apprenticeship training centre in September

A major new training centre for young people interested in vocational courses and apprenticeships is set to open in Essex in September.

Prospects Learning Foundation, a charitable vocational learning and apprenticeship provider, has been selected by Essex County Council to run the new £6.3 million training centre on Canvey Island in Essex.

The charity will be responsible for initially training 200 16 to 18 year olds from the Canvey Island and Castle Point areas in Essex.

The vocational learning will include electrical engineering, plumbing, carpentry, car maintenance, hairdressing and beauty treatment. The centre will also be the base for apprenticeship training.

Chief executive Neil Bates said: “This new centre is badly needed in Castle Point as there are many young people who are unemployed and not on training courses.

“It’s important that we give them the best possible chance to train and find work as a result.”

The Foundation is now looking for employers who may be interested in taking on an apprentice once the centre is up and running.

Bates said: “We’re looking for as many Castle Point employers as possible who would be prepared to take on apprentices.

“The firms involved would only have to pay for the apprentices’ wages as the training will already be funded.  We can also advise on new government initiatives to help subsidise wage costs for smaller companies too.”

The Foundation is inviting local youngsters to apply for pre-apprenticeship training at the Foundation’s other centres in Basildon and Southend under the government’s Access to Apprenticeships scheme with a view to making the scheme available at the Canvey centre when it opens.

The announcement for the training centres comes after its plans had been under threat after a local college pulled out last year from its proposed involvement in the project.

Bates is now positive about the partnerships involved in the plans for the centre. He said: “Our partnership with the YPLA and Essex County Council significantly increases the chances of success for this new venture.

“In particular, the County Council’s vision and commitment to strengthening employment and skills provision as part of the regeneration of the Thames Gateway is one that Prospects shares and we look forward to working together to help make a difference to hundreds of young lives across the area.”

Work has already started on building the new centre and the £6.3m construction costs are being met by Essex County Council, which has previously supported apprenticeships and other types of vocational training.

A significant funding contribution towards training the 16 to 18 year olds will come from the government’s Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA).

Linsey Humphries


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