I left school when I was 15 and went straight on the dole. After a few days I was placed on a training scheme, which led to an apprenticeship, which in turn led to me going to university. Then ICL, Fujitsu, Dell & now RFC. It has all turned out well even after a wobbly start.
As a school leaver on state benefits, I was fortunate enough to be given a training opportunity AND had people cheering me on as I got my working life started.
In Reading there are approximately 1400 16-24yr old who are classed as NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training), 400 of these are aged between 16-19. Why so many young people are in this category is complex but isn't because of a lack training opportunities, many such schemes have vacancies.
One of the issues these young people face is that they need support and encouragement in engaging with existing processes & schemes. That's where we come in.
We have decided to partner with Reading Borough Council and the Mustard Tree Foundation to start a mentoring programme helping these young adults plug into education, employment & training schemes. The project also hopes to create easier access opportunities, so that a jump into a structured working week isn't too wide.
Rachel Green (she did an intern program with us) has been appointed the full time project worker and today is her second day in the post!
This Sunday, she and Counsillor James Anderson, will be introducing the project at both our meetings and will be outlining how we can be involved in mentoring.
We are funding our contribution to this project from the Vision Fund tithe; we are indeed beginning to play our part in serving the town of Reading.