Young people in Warwickshire are being helped into work by Positive Futures, a training scheme targeting 15 to 24-year-olds not in education, employment or training who do not have basic maths and English qualifications.
Co-funded by the Department for Work and Pensions’ European Social Fund and 50 per cent match funded by Warwickshire County Council and PET-Xi Training, the training course is helping break down barriers to entering the jobs market for young people in the local area.
Deputy Director, Head of European Social Fund Division, Dr Catherine Blair visited young people taking part in the training course, to see first-hand the support offered by the training and education specialists.
Since its launch in 2016, the project has seen over 350 young people secure jobs or enrol in education on completion of Positive Futures. The programme, launched by PET-Xi Training, has an ambition to support a further 400 young people move into employment or education.
Joined by Glenn Robinson, manager of the Skills for Growth programme run by Warwickshire County Council, the pair were given a tour of PET-Xi Training’s headquarters in Coventry by the project’s managing director, Fleur Sexton.
After meeting employees, Dr Blair visited PET-Xi Training’s new Skills Hub in Nuneaton to hear more about the Positive Futures project and the impact it has had on participants’ lives.
Dr Blair said: “It was fantastic to see how this project is making a real difference to the lives of young people at risk of social exclusion.
“Staff can offer young people practical advice on a range of issues, including employment, and support individuals with their next steps such as moving or providing transport to interviews.
“Youth unemployment is at a record low and it’s great to see the difference projects like this make, helping more young people move into work or education.”
Cllr Colin Hayfield, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Education and Learning at Warwickshire County Council, said: "The county council has prioritised young people who are at risk of social exclusion and has established a planning and co-ordination group where we liaise with partners such as PET-Xi Training to provide our young people with the support in areas where it is most needed."
Fleur, winner of Businesswoman of the Year 2017, said the legacies of Positive Futures include the impact on the lives of young people and the Skills Hub which has been opened to make it easier for young people in Warwickshire to gain qualifications and improve their career prospects.
She said: "For over 20 years, PET-Xi's vision has been to champion every single person to fulfil their potential through education and employment, find their place in their community and transform their life.
“This scheme is designed to break down barriers to help young people in local communities to achieve essential basic maths and English qualifications and to improve their life chances by giving them the support they need to gain a job or a place in further education.
“It was fantastic to welcome Dr Blair and Glenn to PET-Xi Training to show them first-hand the benefits of the project.
“The feedback we have had from everyone involved whether it is young people or funders has been extremely positive – the Department of Work and Pensions and Warwickshire County Council have helped to fund this essential project which is making a real difference to young people’s lives.”