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Case studies;FE Focus;Social Inclusion

1 Mentors

IN TELFORD, the Madeley Area Pathways Project, an initiative led by Shropshire Chamber of Commerce Training and Enterprise, is helping disadvantaged young people improve their prospects.

It caters for people who could be homeless, single parents, or under 18 and lacking family support.

The project, set up three years ago, matches young people with mentors to advise, support and encourage them to into mainstream education, jobs or training.

Mentors, chosen for their knowledge of young people's problems and their ability to communicate, have been trained in how to refer clients on to other agencies.

More than 30 young people have been mentored, and many have find work, training and housing. Four have also taken part in the Prince's Trust and gained NVQs.

2 OFF THE STREETS

OFF the Streets and Into Work is a partnership aiming to deliver "joined-up" guidance, training and jobs for London's homeless youth.

Initiated four years ago by FOCUS Central London, OSW has partners in the private, public and voluntary sectors. It has surpassed all its key targets in the drive to help the capital's single homeless break out of dependency.

OSW has provided vocational guidance for 4,000 homeless people, more than 70 of whom have had feeder or basic skills training, 1,000 have gone on to college or gained vocational skills and 800 have found jobs.

The project has organised more than 12,000 training weeks, set up Europe's only jobs brokerage for the homeless and developed a versatile client monitoring system. It also manages three New Deal Gateway contracts. Later this year it will become a charity to tap into other sources of funding.

3 ETHNIC MINORITIES

IN PETERBOROUGH young people from ethnic minorities in the Gladstone Park area are getting help in interview techniques, job search skills and writing CVs to boost their chances of getting work.

Gladstone Park has a large Asian and African-Caribbean population, and lack of skills, discrimination, and cultural and language barriers mean many face above-average levels of long-term unemployment.

The guidance project aims to help break this cycle by providing people with skills through the partnerships forged between the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Training and Enterprise, local employers, training providers, job centres and ethnic- minority groups. The CCTE also uses the Gladstone Park study centre to provide enterprise training and IT skills for Asian women who are encouraged to take NVQs in business administration.

This week, George Mudie, minister for lifelong learning, dropped in on his way to open a learning centre in the town.

Stuart Manning, partner in a chartered accounts MacIntyre and Hudson, and a CCTE director pointed to the economic benefits of tackling social exclusion.

"As an employer, the biggest problem you face is recruitment. Employers want a skilled workforce and this project is helping people in the locality develop them. Initiatives such as this boost people's skill levels and employability.

"Not providing people with opportunities costs the country in benefit and welfare."

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