Sheffield job seekers scale new heights

On the up: Thomas Leary, 17, and Ben Warren, 19, on the climbing wall at Peaks College.
On the up: Thomas Leary, 17, and Ben Warren, 19, on the climbing wall at Peaks College.
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GETTING a foot on the career ladder is a difficult task for youngsters these days.

The latest Government statistics show one in six people aged 16 to 24 in England are unemployed or outside education – one million in total.

And teenager Thomas Leary, from Darnall in Sheffield, was among them.

Despite leaving school with six GCSEs the 17-year-old was out of work and had no training during the year since.

He said: “I got stuck, and lost my confidence.”

But now he feels his prospects have improved since completing a new training programme at Peaks and Norton Colleges.

The 12-week Prince’s Trust team programme development course offers work experience, personal and practical skills development, such as giving a group presentation and interview techniques, helping on community projects and a residential week away.

Aimed at young people aged 16 to 25 who are not in employment, education or training, the course encourages students to develop their confidence, work in a team, and take practical steps to boost their prospects by applying for jobs or courses.

Target groups for the programme include young people out of work, those who have been in care, educational underachievers and youth offenders.

Since he has completed the course, Thomas said his confidence has increased and he has regained a sense of purpose and direction.

He said: “I feel like I can talk to a lot more people. I enjoyed the teamwork skills and I am applying to do a mechanics apprenticeship at the college.”

Lee Gundry, course leader at Peaks College, said: “Some of these young people have faced real challenges in their lives and they need that second chance and support to succeed, especially in the current tough economic climate.

“We will help them with travel and equipment costs. It’s about building their confidence and showing them how they can improve their skills and prospects.

“The majority of this group are going to move onto college courses, to work their way up the qualifications ladder and improve their prospects.”

n For information about the next Prince’s Trust Team programme at Peaks and Norton colleges, visit or call 0114 2602600.