Training projects set to expand after cash boost

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DISADVANTAGED Sheffield teenagers could face a brighter future thanks to a £1.2 million funding boost to be spent on learning and training projects.

The cash will be targeted at hard to reach young people who are not in education, employment or training – so-called NEETs.

The city council has secured the money from the Government’s Skills Funding Agency and the EU European Social Fund, and it will be spent over the next two years.

Sheffield has approximately 1,400 NEETs, each of whom spends an average of three months in that situation.

Cabinet member for children and young people, Coun Jackie Drayton, said: “We are totally committed to supporting young people throughout Sheffield and believe that everyone should be able to access education, training or employment. This grant is great news for us as it will help us specifically target the most hard to reach, and sometimes the most vulnerable, young people in our society.”

Sheffield has already helped more than 1,300 young people through various projects over the last three years, a fact which helped the city win the award.

Coun Drayton said: “This money will help us build on this work and fits directly in with what we are doing as a city to encourage young people to stay on in education.

“We have just reopened the Sheaf Training Centre and at the same time we have welcomed the fact we are one of only a handful of authorities to get the green light to open a University Technical College.

“Both of these are vital tools to help our young people get the best service possible to help them gain future employment, which after all is the ultimate goal to achieve.”

Coun Drayton said the city was looking to 2013 and beyond, when young people would have to stay in education until the age of 18.

She said: “As a result, the city we will need to provide an even greater number of engaging and interesting training and learning opportunities for our young people.

“This money has come at a fantastic time because it will enable us to start growing these projects now to help young people.”