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Flipping burgers between shoots

Jason Colley, 21, has found that one day a week at the Media Opportunities Base can fit in with earning a living.

"I was at college and went to Shift to get work experience. I was doing a BTEC Media course, but that prevented me from claiming benefits. Now I'm doing 10 hours at Shift and that fits in with working at Burger King. I've been at Shift for a year learning camera and sound skills and making short films. Soon I'll be going on a placement with internet radio."

Bob Evans, director of widening participation at South Yorkshire LSC, on the need for employer involvement.

"Employer engagement is a weakness because we've got fewer businesses than we need, especially with apprentice programmes, but they need to fill skill shortages. The (region's) profile is changing, there's more knowledge-based and service occupations. The new employers are coming on board, such as the internet companies. Business is having to respond by offering training to get youngsters to come to them. We've also got to educate the people giving advice to young people about economic change."

Derville Quigelly is a tutor at Shift's Media Opportunities Base for two days a week. She trained at the Northern Media School at Sheffield Hallam University and works in the industry.

"Vocational education is important for the field itself, it ensures the progression of the field in the (local) area.

"It's a difficult industry to get into, but if there's a skilled workforce to make a production, there's usually a market for it. If you can use equipment and work safely, you can get work. Students become confident in a working environment and have a professional air about them - that type of person will be sought after. People in the industry enjoy student placements, and enjoy the focus on their organisation."

Shaz Ghalib, project director SRB Youth Theme in Sheffield, on the need for a variety of routes and support mechanisms to help young people who face problems.

"There's a need for informed structures in a young person's life. Young people sometimes feel that the system or their family has failed them. Then one error can put them in a spiral that puts them out of reach of mainstream provision; the system moves on and they get left behind."

Sue Jones

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