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Guide to tackle exclusion;FE Focus

Refuse to rush in with instant solutions, avoid being over-enthusiastic about possible outcomes, and look for hidden potential are some of the lessons learned as a result of projects aimed at overcoming social exclusion.

A good practice guide showing how the problem of social inclusion was tackled by training and enterprise councils, what the results were and how to avoid the pitfalls, has been published by the TECs' national council.

"People may be socially excluded for various reasons, such as unemployment, low pay, lack of basic skills. drug, alcohol and other problems," said Richard Flint, chair of the council's equal opportunities advisory committee.

"This widespread problem is at the top of the Government's agenda, and we felt it was important to highlight the work of TECs and chambers of commerce.

"We also wanted to provide ideas on how to target particular groups of the community, describe reasons for the success of individual projects, and identify possible problems and pitfalls."

A Devon and Cornwall project to help people with mental health problems broke new ground, but staff were initially over-enthusiastic in the way they dealt with individual's difficulties. They now have a greater sense of realism.

Some of the projects were extremely successful. Focus Central London TEC ran a scheme for the homeless: 700 people found work; 700 successfully completed pre-vocational training and more than 1,000 have gone on to further education and training.

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