Sheffield, Yorkshire United Kingdom (PressExposure) February 15, 2011 -- A PIONEERING training initiative, launched by a Sheffield company to reach Britain's most disaffected youngsters, opens its doors at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground today.
A PIONEERING training initiative, launched by a Sheffield company to reach Britain's most disaffected youngsters, opens its doors at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground today.
Vox centres are being set up around the country by public services companyA4e and provide hands-on vocational training in a wide range of industries for young people who have struggled to attend full time school, as well as adults of all ages who have been unemployed for long periods.
The idea came from A4e employee Shaninga Marasha. After Shaninga won A4e's top "Improving People's Lives Award," the company asked him what new idea he thought might best help the kids on the street that he was working with.
The company invested its own money in the setting up the Vox centres, which give adults and young people, who are truants or have been excluded from school, the opportunity to learn a host of skills in a real working environment in industries that include construction, sport, retail, hospitality and leisure, hair and beauty, and design and fashion.
A4e chairman Emma Harrison says the centres have been so successful that local councils have started paying for children to attend because it is cheaper than trying to control them at school, find them when they are truanting or seeking other solutions.
"There are close to one million young people, aged 16 to 24, not in education or training. This is just not acceptable as it minimises people's chances and devastates local communities. We are in danger of this becoming a real problem in Sheffield," said Emma Harrison.
"At A4e Vox centres we help people grow in confidence, develop a transferable set of skills, and prepare for work, as well as offering individual mentoring programmes to best meet their needs.
"I believe we really can transform Sheffield for the better."
Vox centres in other parts of the country have made significant achievements in terms of improving attendance rates - up from zero, in some cases, to 85 per cent - while 75 per cent of participants go on to take part in education, employment or training.