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Construction training offered to struggling Norfolk students

PUBLISHED: 09:34 12 June 2019 | UPDATED: 09:41 12 June 2019

Open Road patron James Bagge demonstrates the powerful chop saw in the Open Road joinery workshop with Sir Henry and tutor Ian Moyes in close attendance  Picture: Paul Tibbs

Open Road patron James Bagge demonstrates the powerful chop saw in the Open Road joinery workshop with Sir Henry and tutor Ian Moyes in close attendance Picture: Paul Tibbs

PAUL TIBBS PHOTOGRAPHY

A £10,000 donation will help a charity offer construction training to struggling students.

The People's Postcode Lottery has given the funding to King's Lynn-based Open Road, which aims to build a better future for teenagers experiencing difficulties in mainstream education.

The group has offered training in basic motor mechanics for the past 10 years.

A joinery workshop has also been developed to run alongside the automotive workshop and nine students are already using the workspace and equipment.

Now the lottery money, along with a further £1,650 from West Norfolk council, will allow Open Road to develop painting, brick-laying and plastering training at its base on the Hardwick Industrial Estate.

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North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham visited the charity to discuss plans for the future with its patron, former High Sheriff of Norfolk James Bagge, chair of trustees David Lennard Jones, trustee Terry Smith, centre manager Robin Hansell and volunteers.

Mr Smith said: "Open Road drives a culture of hard work. It's a place where application, positive attitude and teamwork is acknowledged and appropriately rewarded, ultimately leading to professionally recognised qualifications that will hopefully help students find their way on to a career path and a profession to be proud of."

Mr Lennard Jones said: "Our motor mechanics course is well established but the move into construction training is a big and exciting step and we have a waiting list of young people wanting to come and join us."

Norfolk has the highest exclusion rates in the East of England but the recently published Timpson Report made 30 recommendations to Government on how schools and the education sector should react to pupil exclusions. One of its central themes was that young people should not be allowed to fall out of the education system following their exclusion.

Mr Lennard Jones said around 1,000 people were "in a far better place" having attended an Open Road automotive course since the charity launched 10 years ago.

Sir Henry said: "Open Road with its automotive and construction industry training is clearly providing added value to the educational environment of West Norfolk."

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