Training courses for vulnerable Norwich teenagers saved by YMCA link-up

The YMCA offers a new contract to St Ed's Training Centre. Mark Anderson from the YMCA with CEO of S

The YMCA offers a new contract to St Ed's Training Centre. Mark Anderson from the YMCA with CEO of St Ed's Lorraine Bliss.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The future of post-16 training courses at a city education charity has been secured with the help of the YMCA.

Older teenagers have hailed the courses at St Eds, including catering and construction, as a lifeline, but they faced being dropped when funding was pulled earlier this year.

The programmes, for people aged 16 to 18 who struggled in mainstream education, had been funded by Norfolk County Council, but the authority's funding from government was reduced after its adult education service was branded 'inadequate' by Ofsted, and St Eds was a casualty of this.

However, staff at the St Eds training centre in Oak Street have teamed up with the YMCA, which is funding a cohort of 50 post-16 young people who are not in education, employment or training (neetd).

The courses offered will be in construction, catering and motorcycle mechanics, with the construction course extending to level two - more advanced than was previously offered.

Lorraine Bliss, chief executive of St Eds, said: 'I'm really excited at the prospect of this partnership between two charities that have a shared ethos of helping the most vulnerable young people to access training that they may not otherwise receive.'

The first dozen students will begin their training in December in Oak Street, with placements at respected employers such as Taylor Wimpey for construction.

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Courses last a year, and bosses at St Eds said they were 'optimistic' about rolling the arrangement with the YMCA out beyond the initial 50 places.

Funding was provided through YMCA training services, and as part of the set-up St Eds will also run pastoral courses in drug education and sex education.

The post-16 courses complement the existing courses for children aged 14 to 16 who have been excluded from mainstream education.

Young people who missed out on course places when funding was cut are now able to come back to St Eds.

If you are interested in the courses, email