A unique six-month programme aimed at getting unemployed young people on the road to work has helped more than 60 teenagers into work, training or discover new skills.
Among them is 17-year-old Tori Hill, from Wednesbury, who signed up to the Get Involved scheme last July. Thanks to the programme Tori along with 68 similar young people from Birmingham and the Black Country, have gone on to either discover new skills, get apprenticeships or find jobs.
For unemployed Tori it has meant a switch from taking up hairdressing to painting and decorating after she was given the opportunity of some work experience through the scheme.
Black Country training provider BCTG was awarded a contract to run the Get Involved course last year, which was targeted at young people who were not involved in any type of education, employment or training.
Over the course of the programme, funded by the European Social Fund, young people including Tori took part in a series of free workshops and mentoring sessions as well as visiting the Skills Show at the NEC last November.
Tori said: "I went to the Skills Show and found out about painting and decorating which I had a go at and really liked. Before that I tried hairdressing but I didn't like it very much.”
Mike Smith, from BCTG who has mentored young people on the programme, said: "In Tori's case we found she had a flair for painting and decorating after she'd had a taste of it at the Skills Show. So we organised some work experience for her at NSPP, a training provider, which specialises in construction, painting, decorating and plastering.
"The hope now is that Tori has found something she'd really like to pursue and can aim for an apprenticeship to continue her learning.”
Of the 68 learners who signed up to the scheme, two have gone on to study at college, 25 have gone into apprenticeships and 11 have got jobs.
Chris Luty, BCTG director, said: "We were one of only two training providers in England selected to run this course. It was all about one-to-one mentoring, practical workshops and invaluable support to help get young people into apprenticeships, college or jobs.
"We are very pleased with the results, all these young people needed was some extra help to put them on the right path and an opportunity to get good work experience to find out what career options were out there for them.”