Charity’s programme to help train school leavers

Lee Cote from WorkingRite
Lee Cote from WorkingRite

SCHOOL leavers in 1066 Country are among the first in England to benefit from on-the-job training with a small business.

Workingrite, founded in Scotland, has brought its award-winning Work Pairing programme to the county, opening its first office south of the border, in Cambridge Road in Hastings.

The charity offers 16- to 18-year-olds an alternative to the classroom by providing them with a placement for up to six months in a one-to-one work environment where they learn direct from an employer.

Workingrite’s local project co-ordinator, Lee Cote, matches the right young person to the right small business and delivers recruitment of trainees. The employer pays the young person a training allowance of £50 a week and often takes them on either as an employee or apprentice at the end of the six months, although that is not a requirement. Since 2010, around 90 per cent of Workingrite’s trainees have completed their placements, more than 70 per cent went on to an apprenticeship or other full-time employment.

Mr Cote said: “It makes me extremely proud to be a Workingrite co-ordinator in East Sussex when I see the motivation, dedication and commitment displayed by the 16- to 18-year-olds we work with.

“Many are disengaged from formal learning but are extremely keen to get out there and learn on the job. Workingrite gives them that opportunity regardless of their qualifications. One example of a local employer which has supported us 100 per cent is Roost People. Not only has it provided placements for several young people but it has steered other employers in our direction so we can provide more avenues to trainees.

“The trainees I have dealt with so far have matured in a very short period. They are now looking forward to future prospects which weren’t there for them before they started with Workingrite.”

Sandy Campbell, chief executive of Workingrite, said: “Young people have been hit particularly hard by this recession but I passionately believe that if given a helping hand by a small business in their community they also have so much to give back.”

The Own Grown campaign’s goal is to get 1,066 pledges from companies to help young people over the next year. Employers can pledge support via www.owngrown.org.uk, emailing owngrown@hastings.gov.uk or ringing 01424 451795.