Laurie Stocks- Moore reports on a training scheme for young people
A TEENAGER who left school with no GCSEs says a training scheme has saved him from jail.
Todd Wishart, 19, from Blacon is one of the many youngsters who have been given a second chance by the government’s Future Jobs Fund at Chester and District Housing Trust.
The scheme provides paid on-the-job training in numerous areas with a view to giving some of the attendees jobs at the end, or setting them up with other companies.
Todd, who is dyslexic, finished school without a single qualification.
He is honest in his prediction of the way his life would have gone had he not signed up to the scheme.
“I would be in jail most probably,” he admits. “The dole can make your head go.
“Six months ago I had no ambition. I had nothing to push me forward. Now I’ve got my whole life ahead of me and I’m living life how proper 19-year-olds do.”
Todd’s long-time friend, Adam Picken, 20, is also taking part. He is also working in painting and decorating in planned maintenance so the pals will be fighting it out for a job at the end. Adam got five GCSEs at school – his highest mark was a D.
He said: “I didn’t do much after school and got into a bit of trouble. I got a job at McDonalds but didn’t like it and went to the chicken factory.
“A month ago, I ended up here. it’s just been great. I love going to work every day.”
The Future Jobs Fund is a new £1.2bn government scheme which aims to create 150,000 jobs across the country and help young people find work.
The trust is creating more than 60 employment opportunities over the next two years, in partnership with Cheshire West & Chester Council and Job Centre Plus.
Vacancies and community apprentices have been created in the Trust’s call centres, repairs teams, painting and decorating teams, grounds maintenance divisions and finance departments. Each will be helped for six months by a personal mentor.
A celebration of the achievements of Todd and others was held at Centurion House, Northgate Street on Friday.
Christine Russell, Labour parliamentary candidate for Chester, told the audience of 14 young men and women on the scheme: “The government depends on employers to give you young people the chance for training and work experience.
“We’re going through this global financial recession and it’s the young people who are not getting a job.
“I spent three years messing around when I finished school – it’s always possible to have a second chance.”
CDHT’s Sarah McGrady, pathways co-ordinator, is leading the team.
She said: “The Future Jobs Fund project is a fantastic opportunity for the Trust to work with and learn from young people, helping them to learn new skills and build a successful career for themselves in housing.
“In the current economic climate it is even more important that we show our support for young people entering the jobs market.”