Disadvantaged kids pick up new skills as they clean up estates

An innovative scheme to help struggling unemployed youngsters in Sheffield will be the first of its kind to provide vital, work-based training while cleaning up some of the city's outdoor spaces.
An innovative scheme to help struggling unemployed youngsters in Sheffield will be the first of its kind to provide vital, work-based training while cleaning up some of the city's outdoor spaces.
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Disadvantaged youngsters are learning new skills in a training scheme which helps clean up the city’s housing estates.

Placements are being offered through the Community Landscape Management Programme, the first of its kind, which is run by building firm Kier Asset Partnership Services and government-funded organisation, CTS Training.

It is targeting young people who are not in education, employment or training and provides an ‘earn-while-you- learn’ experience.

Learners spend four days a week with a supervisor carrying out work on open spaces, including tree and shrub maintenance, footpath clearance and litter picking.

The fifth day is spent learning skills in English, maths and IT, attending mock interviews and confidence-building.

Learners also have the opportunity to work towards an accredited qualification, the Edexel BTEC Level 1 Introductory Certificate in Construction. The future of the temporary scheme is dependent on securing funding.

One youth involved is 19-year-old Nathan Fairfax.

He said: “Without this project I’d probably be doing nothing or be on benefits. This scheme has given me a lot of extra confidence.

“We recently did some work in Heeley. By the end of the day, we had completely cleared the area, trimmed the trees and shrubs and cleared rubbish. I felt really proud to have made a difference for my community.”

Tracy Archer-Maher of Kier Asset Partnership Services said: “The programme is a way to not only introduce an innovative programme to support and improve job prospects for unemployed young people across Sheffield but also to enrich the local environment.”

CTS Training chief executive officer Steve Holmes, said: “Research has shown more than one in six children in Yorkshire live in a workless family and 31 per cent of individuals receiving jobseekers’ allowances are aged 18 to 24. The project has provided our students with on-the-job experience and allowed them to develop vocational and personal skills.