From education to employment

FE News takes a look at the National Training Award finalist

Marginalised young people are being given a confident new outlook on life thanks to a scheme run by City College Plymouth.

The college runs a 12-week personal development programme under franchise from the Prince’s Trust. Prince Charles” organisation launched the first Prince’s Trust Volunteers in 1990.

Now called the Prince’s Trust Team (PTT) the programme has earned City College Plymouth a place in the finals of the National Training Awards 2007.

Neil Parry, programme area manager, Work-based Learning, who is based at the college explains: “Over the past three years, 301 young people have completed the Team at Plymouth and gained their City and Guilds Certificate.

“These young people have found direction in their life often for the first time, realising they are of value and they do have control of their lives.”

The programme aims to engage and inspire young people in vulnerable groups ““ those not in education, employment or training, care leavers, refugees, young offenders, drug and alcohol dependant people ““ by mixing them with employees from various industries and public services on each team for their own personal development.

The programme is designed to improve motivation and confidence, develop basic skills, increase personal effectiveness. It lets the participants sample different work and learning environments, develop communication and improve team work.

The final challenge is to choose a community project to tackle and to raise the money to fund the resources needed. In the past teams have raised money by organising events like sponsored abseils and runs, and communicating with local businesses and employers and asking for donations. At the end they make a presentation to more than 100 people.

Neil said: “Success is measured by numbers entering full time education/training or employment and the achievement of their Certificate in Community, Team and Personal Skills, awarded by City and Guilds, the national target is 80 per cent, currently PTT at City College Plymouth is 100 per cent achievement…”

Plymouth”s Work-based Learning department runs seven PTT’s a year. Funded by the Learning and Skills Council, it costs £2,775 per learner.

What does the programme mean to team members? One said: “Over the past 12 weeks I have learnt so much about myself that I now feel ready to face the real world. Without this course I don”t know where I would have ended up.”

Another said: “13 weeks ago I was afraid to leave the house, let alone face all the challenges I have over the last three months. I can”t tell you how important this course is, and how having someone believe in you can make all the difference.”

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