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Entry to skills

An initiative to help homeless young people back into mainstream society has been combined with a college's wish to offer accommodation and training opportunities to the homeless.

The Brighton Foyer scheme offers sheltered housing to homeless people aged 16 to 24 provided they undertake skills training.

The scheme was opened by Prince Charles last month, and is unusual in that the Foyer - a 50-bed residential building - has been built on the campus of Brighton College of Technology.

Currently 16 of 41 occupants of the Foyer - managed by a housing association - are on full-time courses, studying anything from motor mechanics to radio journalism.

Ann Smith, deputy principal, says the college thought it would be a couple of years before there were any success stories. How-ever, the first occupant was one of its own students who was sleeping on Brighton beach while studying for a BTec. He is now studying photography and astronomy.

"Some of the students are really excited about the fact that they have got a room, that they are in training, that they have got action plans and that they have got a future," she said.

"The benefits are obviously that we are widening participation. There are 16 students there who would never have been able to attend college because they would not have been able to afford it."

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