A NEW college in Bradford will help young people with learning disabilities prepare for life in work and further education.

Work is underway to create a new outreach centre for Henshaws College in a unit in Listerhills Technology Park.

The specialist college, which is based in Harrogate caters for students aged from 16 to 25 with a range of disabilities. Around 20 per cent of the students there are from Bradford.

The Bradford centre, due to open to students this September, will offer courses to help the young people either prepare for the move from special school to college, or to learn skills to move into employment, as well as training to live more independently.

The college will also offer advice and training to help local businesses feel more confident in hiring disabled adults.

At the college, students will learn skills such as catering and businesses are already in talks to partner with the college and offer placements.

Henshaws was given planning permission to convert two vacant office units in at the park last year, and are in the final stages of fitting out the building.

The group said they chose the site due to its proximity to the city centre, as well as Bradford College and University, despite being secluded enough for its students to feel comfortable.

Principal Angela North said: “A lot of these young people can’t be left by themselves yet, and so when they leave school it can prove quite a challenge.

“It is helping that young person leave school and learn to live independently and be safe in the community. The courses will help them prepare for studying in bigger settings, or to move or employment settings. They can work with employers, and hopefully over time become more self reliant.

“Some students might do a year here, some just a term, we work with them to get them ready for what they want to do next. We want to get them to the stage where they can go and work and not feel like a burden.

“We work in partnership with employers, because we want them to help these young people fit in their workplace.”

Lisa Hart, head of college development, said: “We have been speaking to two big employers in Bradford who are able to offer young people different roles within their organisation.

At full capacity, the college will have between 12 and 16 students and up to eight members of staff.

For more information call 01423 886451 or email henshaws.ac.uk.