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More than 30 students who have previously faced difficulties while studying, struggled in college or been excluded from school were celebrating after being recognised for their hard work.

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Mayor of Havering, Cllr Lynden Thorpe awarded 34 students with certificates after they passed courses at TBG Learning.

The charity-run company specialises in English and maths courses and vocational training business administration, childcare, beauty, construction, retail and hairdressing.

Christine Wopling, a trainer at the centre, said: “We bring in 16 to 19-year-olds, who may be non-achievers in schools and colleges, or have been excluded.

“When they come to us they often have no qualifications from school.

“We progress them to the highest levels they can achieve and with a course they would like to do, or they feel they will progress in the most.”

They then take a 24-week course, which includes a work placement for the vocational courses to get a taster of the industry.

From there they are advised about college courses, job opportunities or getting an apprenticeship.

Christine said she believed it worked because “it is a more laid-back atmosphere and we treat them like they are young adults. The aim is to get them work ready for employment”.

She said it also helped that they were in an adult environment for the first time and the course was not five days a week.

“Most of those who attend have been excluded or have not achieved as well as they wanted, and this is a chance for them to come back and get the grades they want,” she said.

“We engage them with a programme tailored to them and they are mentored all the way through it.

“My job is to bring them in and engage them by giving them information and advice.

“They may have an addiction or personal problems, in which case we can give them the advice or sign post them where to go.”

“Ninety-nine per cent of the students here have never had a job or an interview before.

“Most of them have got to a certain point and want the opportunity to come back and get their grades.”

To sign up for the courses or to get more information you can visit The Information Shop, in Bridgewater Road, Harold Hill, call 01708 209245 or email havering@tbglearning.com.

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