THE first group of young people to get a second chance at a centre near Tenbury will be starting soon.
A mixed group of young men and women, who have fallen by the wayside, will start training at the Bluestone Centre at Bleathwood next month (September).
Paddy Brennan, who runs the centre, says that the first batch of trainees will all be from the Tenbury area and be the first of hundreds of young people each year that will be given the chance of a fresh start.
“These are young people that are not in education, training or employment and have fallen through the gaps,” said Paddy Brennan who has started the centre alongside the Tenbury Boxing Club.
A 10 week trades course has been developed as part of the National Open College Network and will enable young people to gain basic training that will then provide the credits that they need to get into college.
The courses, that will be open to young men and women, will provide an introduction to trades such as bricklaying, woodworking, electronics, plumbing and plastering.
“There is no discrimination of gender and young women are just as welcome,” said Mr Brennan.
“I know a number of excellent women plumbers and there is no reason why girls should not be good at skills like brick laying and carpentry.
“There are 975,000 ‘NEETS’ – that is young people not in education, work or training - and it is a national disgrace. They are not bad kids but just need to be given a chance.”
It is hoped that the Bluestone Centre will shine a light and point the way to a new way of helping young people.
Paddy Brennan, who has become a successful businessman after living in one of the poorer parts of Birmingham, says that many young people are being let down and have talents that are being allowed to go to waste.
Although the first group of young people will be from the Tenbury area and will not be residential, facilities are being prepared to allow trainees in future to live on site under supervision.
The facility will also provide training for young offenders.
Paddy Brennan has no doubt that giving troubled young people a chance is best for them and for the community as a whole. He says that sending someone to prison just places them in an academy where they learn crime and also costs the taxpayer £200,000 a year.
It will be the first week of September when the initial group of 10 young people will arrive for training and at the same time work will start on a £100,000 extension of the facility, half of which is grant funded by Sport England.
This is expected to be completed by the end of the autumn and bring new changing and toilet facilities.
“I want these youngsters to have the same kind of chance that I had which is to learn a trade and make something of their lives. What we will be doing is a new way and a better way,” added Mr Brennan.