The Lagan Valley Education Project was started in 1994 in Twinbrook, Lisburn, when two concerned fathers decided to take action to help young people in the area who had become excluded from school. The project makes a real difference to young people who might otherwise have found themselves unable to get into work. Amongst other activites, the project runs a crèche for the children of school-age mothers, allowing parents to continue their education.
A National Lottery grant funded vocational training courses for 60 young people aged between14 and 17. “We have always provided students with tuition in maths, English, IT and art. We also place great emphasis on the personal and social development of students,” says Anthony McCabe from the project. “Having acquired land to the rear of the existing building and received funding from the Lottery, we expanded the curriculum to include a wide range of vocational qualifications that included training in skills such as hairdressing, painting and decorating, catering and bricklaying.
Lottery funding enabled us to employ a Project Officer, purchase temporary accommodation and employ tutors to deliver training in specific trades.” Students were given the opportunity to sample various vocations before choosing one to concentrate on. Once their training was completed, the project provided support and practical advice to help them find employment.
“The expansion of the curriculum was extremely important to us, as it is the aim of the project to ensure that every young person is given the best chance to enter the adult world with the skills, qualifications and knowledge to help them to make the best possible choices,” says Anthony.
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