Teens blast cuts to careers advice service

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TEENAGERS have slammed the decision to close a careers advice service as “ridiculous”.

Connexions, which had an office in Queensbury House, Havelock Road, closed on Tuesday.

The decision has been made by East Sussex County Council, which runs the service via contractors Babcock Enterprise.

Stacey Glazier, 17, of Keymer Close, St Leonards, said: “A lot of us fear we will no longer get the help we need, as there is nowhere else to go but Connexions.

“It helped me through my hairdressing course at Sussex Coast College Hastings by looking after my baby boy while I was studying.”

Danniella Beckley, also 17, said Connexions helped her get onto a course so she could become a qualified security guard and will be able to get her licence once she reaches 18.

The teenager, who lives in Bexhill, said: “A lot of teenagers have not been able to get where they are without staff at Connexions so it’s stupid closing the service.

“Staff have helped us greatly with our confidence and always praise us, offering encouragement.”

Bonnie Ward, 18, from Pebsham, said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous what has happened. At least 100 teenagers in Hastings, Bexhill and elsewhere have been helped by Connexions.

“One member of staff returned from holiday to be told by letter he had been made redundant.

“I have learning difficulties and staff from the service helped me through a farming course at Plumpton College. They also gave us career advice every Thursday at a weekly coffee morning.”

Around 50 people’s jobs across East Sussex are at risk because of the cuts.

Last month Steve Burns, from the East Sussex branch of Unison, condemned the Connexions cuts as an “act of gross vandalism”.

A county council spokesman said: “Due to significant reductions in Government grant we will only have the funding to support young people with learning difficulties and to provide one-to-one personal adviser support for the most vulnerable.

“We will not be able to fund universal advice and guidance to young people, and in fact, it will no longer be our responsibility to do so.

“We know that the Government has plans to introduce a national careers service which will include support for young people.”