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College chooses first recruit

Newcastle College recruited an unemployed furniture designer as its first potential candidate for the Government's New Deal for the unemployed within an hour of the launch this week.

The Employment Service asked the college for a basic skills and IT training package for a young out-of-work graduate seeking to start up his own business.

A final decision on whether he would qualify for a place was being considered as The TES went to press. Employment minister Andrew Smith and college managers were impressed by the speed of the response of the local Employment Service.

Mr Smith said: "It is a good example of the flexibility that has to be there if the New Deal is to be of high quality."

Max Hamps, Newcastle College marketing director, said: "His needs are unusual - a computer-aided design package created for very individual training. "

Newcastle is in a consortium with Gateshead and South Tyneside colleges which will provide courses for around half the 2,800 jobless people recruited to the scheme.

Mr Hams estimates that Newcastle alone will recruit more than 700 to short courses in the first year.

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