Bradford Community College scheme to turn lives around

Ryan Anderson and Robin Dark

Ryan Anderson and Robin Dark

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

A college in Bradford city centre is taking part in a programme to make sure young people struggling to find a job don’t “fall through the cracks” into long-term unemployment.

Forster Community College hopes to help 80 people aged between 18 and 24 in the next two years as part of the programme to help young people into work.

Funded by the Big Lottery Fund, the New Talent Match Programme aims to engage with 2,300 young people in the Leeds City Region and the community college will take on 40 people a year for the next two years. If it proves a success it could be extended.

The programme targets those described as “furthest from the job market” – young people who require help and advice before they can move into work.

At the college it will involve staff offering regular sessions over a 12-month period to help them build confidence, improve interview skills and give them the extra experience to get what is likely to be their first job.

The college is now looking for young people who have been unemployed for at least 12 months and are not on benefits to join the programme.

Rob Dark, programme manager for the project at the college, said: “The majority of the young people we want to work with will not be accessing other programmes. Some may have unsuccessfully struggled on the work programme for several years with no positive outcomes.

“These are going to be people who might be falling through the gaps or who haven’t engaged through the Job Centre. This programme will get them to re-connect with the process. It will help get Bradford working again.”

He said the college would receive £100 per person in funding which, while not a huge amount, would help the college provide resources in places they have not been able to previously.

Ryan Anderson, 18, of Wrose, is studying hospitality at the college and is volunteering in its pop-up cafe to get some experience. He wants to move into the restaurant business and hopes to start the programme to get extra advice and experience to give him an edge.

He started his course in September, and said: “I’ve been looking for work since the beginning of my course, but I’ve only been able to find volunteer work.

“I want to get into some sort of training programme, without one it would take me a while to find work.”

Mr Dark added: “We have funding for two years but hopefully this will be extended to five years. It is the same situation for a lot of young people, they just need that extra bit of help and confidence to get them into work.”

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