On 5th February 2014, HRH The Duke of York visited the WorkingRite office in Hastings to learn about our successful solution to youth unemployment.
The Duke met a number of trainees and employers involved in the local programme and showed great interest in their experiences with WorkingRite and their thoughts on youth unemployment.
“Education and skills are keen interests of the Duke and this was a great opportunity for him to learn about WorkingRite’s innovative programme”, says Sandy Campbell Founder and Director of the charity.
“Many of our youngsters have struggled with school, or have come from difficult backgrounds, but the WorkingRite programme provides them with good role models. The programme gives them real experience of the workplace and bolsters their confidence. These are all essential for improving young people’s employability and ensuring a more secure, fulfilling adulthood”.
Many young people in East Sussex are struggling to find work. In December 2013, the county’s youth unemployment rate was 7%, but higher in Hastings. Mr Campbell explains, “WorkingRite is providing a vital lifeline into employment for young people with limited options post-16. Finding work in the current market is not easy but by training young people on the job and getting their Maths and English up to standard, we are bridging the gap between school and the world of work”.
One of the trainees in attendance, Laura Watson, spoke of her experience on the scheme, “I initially wanted to attend Rye College to do a design course, but my Maths wasn’t strong enough. Instead, I was offered a placement with Primesigns by WorkingRite and it has turned out to be the best move to make. I have learnt more than I would have at college and been paid to do it. I am about to start an Apprenticeship with SCC and I now feel happy that after the Apprenticeship, I will progress into a full time position. WorkingRite has also helped me get a higher level in Maths which has helped my progress into college”.
During the visit, the Duke also met special guests from around East Sussex including High Sheriff, Mr Graham Peters, Chairman of East Sussex County Council, Cllr Colin Belsey, Mayor of Hastings, Cllr Alan Roberts, Lead Member for Learning and School Effectiveness, Cllr Nick Bennett, Chief Superintendent, Mr Neil Honour, and Dave Pine from Sussex Coast College Hastings. HRH was keen to hear about how a new WorkingRite project gets off the ground and was surprised at the finance we need behind us to deliver a new contract. Due to the lagged nature of funding granted by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) in England, we rely on charitable donations to deliver the first 18 months of our programme. Without the help of college sub-contracting or philanthropic giving, we are unable to expand into new areas.
Since August, 67% of WorkingRite trainees in Hastings have progressed to a job, further education or an Apprenticeship. For those with few qualifications, WorkingRite offers a viable route into a rewarding career.