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College volunteers celebrate success

PUBLISHED: 13:57 15 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:04 30 June 2010

Prime Minister Gordon Brown with Great Yarmouth College vTalent volunteers

Prime Minister Gordon Brown with Great Yarmouth College vTalent volunteers

A PIONEERING programme to boost the employability of young people and inspire a new generation of volunteers is celebrating its first successes in Norfolk.

A PIONEERING programme to boost the employability of young people and inspire a new generation of volunteers is celebrating its first successes in Norfolk.

Seventeen volunteers launched the vTalent project at Great Yarmouth College - the only of its kind in Norfolk and one of only 30 nationwide.

The programme offers high quality volunteering placements for young people to learn new skills, gain work experience and a level 2 qualification.

Volunteers, who can fit their hours around a college course, can claim up to £100 a week in expenses.

Some choose to volunteer in the area they study while others are widening their skills in different area as a stepping stone and taster for work experience that interests them.

Successful volunteers can apply for a £1500 personal development grant towards further education, volunteering or training.

Others who were previously unemployed are using the experience to boost their skills.

VTalent volunteers include students on level one and two courses and unemployed graduates.

Daniel Cugullere and David Hanton, both 19 from Belton, are volunteering with the college IT team alongside their IT level one diploma.

Daniel said: “We were both in dead end jobs and trying to get back into education. We wanted something better than we were doing and this meant some money and experience in the field we wanted to be working in.”

Ashleigh Carruthers, 16, has different plans - she is volunteering as an office assistant and working towards a business administration NVQ.

After achieving nine A* and B GCSEs she had no desire to study for A levels and go to university.

She said: “I knew I wanted to do accountancy, want to get into the work place and didn't want to do the A level and university route.”

Head of centre for innovation and enterprise Anu Babu, said: “The programme is a wonderful opportunity for the volunteers to experience the work environment and gain qualifications.

“I have seen a remarkable change in the volunteers' confidence level since the start of the programme and expect them to progress into further volunteering, education or employment at the end of the programme.”

To find out more about the programme and how to apply contact Yvonne Gibbs on 01493 419298 or email y.gibbs@gyc.ac.uk.

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