A one-stop-shop offering young people free training and careers advice has been officially opened in Ashington.
Buzz – an education and training company working across Northumberland – has opened The Careers Station in Wansbeck Square to make careers guidance more visible and accessible to young people.
The new facility was opened by Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery.
The company was formed ten years ago in Ashington and since then has helped thousands of young people with advice, training and the chance to gain the sort qualifications needed to begin a rewarding career.
Buzz has its headquarters at Esther Court on the Wansbeck Business Park in Ashington, but also delivers its programmes in Hexham and Amble as well as in the near future in Berwick.
One programme Buzz delivers is called ‘GOAL’ – which stands for ‘Get On And Learn’ – and is aimed at 16 to 18-year-olds, while a second, ‘Ability’, has been devised to assist 16 to 24-year-olds with learning difficulties or disabilities.
‘GOAL’ and ‘Ability’ are study programmes that aim to get young people started on a career of their choice, by offering the opportunity to try ‘taster’ sessions in different occupations to see which one suits them best.
Young people receive training and experience in that career, and work towards maths and English qualifications as well as receiving support to develop their employability, personal and social skills. Both programmes have been officially rated as ‘good’ by Ofsted.
The majority of 16 to 18-year-olds are eligible to receive a bursary of up to £1,200 a year as well as free lunches.
Opening The Careers Station in a busy shopping location, says the company, will give more young people the chance to walk in from the street to see how Buzz as well as other colleges and training providers, can help them.
Buzz has been assisted to open the venture by Northumberland County Council’s employability and skills service whose personal advisers will be available to talk to young people at The Careers Station.
“We think this is going to be a brilliant opportunity for more young people to find out about how we can help them take their first steps towards a worthwhile, sustaining and rewarding career,” said Therese Timlin, Buzz’s manager.
Mr Lavery said Buzz had built up a sound track record over many years in helping local young people embark on a career.
“Nearly 90 per cent of the young people involved with Buzz have a positive outcome from that experience either by finding a job or securing an apprenticeship,” he said.
“Having a high street presence in the centre of town should make the excellent services the company provides, even more accessible to young people seeking the sort of advice and training that will set them off on a worthwhile career.”
The Careers Station will be open Mondays to Thursdays from 9.30am to 4.30pm and on Fridays from 1pm to 4.30pm.
As well as providing training and advice it also includes a retail space selling Traidcraft products, high quality nearly new clothing and computer games.
To mark the official opening of the facility, staff have been fundraising for Breast Cancer Care by baking cakes and taking part in a sponsored cycle ride.