Fabric of success

DESPITE high unemployment in Keighley, employers in the West Yorkshire town were struggling to recruit suitably qualified people.

This prompted last year's launch of the Russell Street Project, a partnership between a charity, Calderdale College, and local businesses, to train unemployed and unqualified young people in level one and two skills.

Individual learning plans are drawn up after each student's basic and key skills needs have been assessed. These plans will typically involve 12 hours spent in vocational workshops, and two hours working on IT and key skills.

The workshops, held mostly in Russell Street, include the manufacture of clothes, wood and metal products, childcare, catering, decorating, electronics and business administration.

The manufacturing training produces real products and the decorating involves contracts working in community buildings.

Learning is local and accessible and its content is geared closely to current vacancies in the local economy. A dozen lecturers from the college help to deliver the programme.

More than 100 students have been placed into lasting jobs in the past year. More than 450 qualifications - NVQs and other certificates - have been gained, more than 25 students have progressed to higher level further education and three students have entered higher education.

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