Charity partners business and education to help hard-to-reach youngsters find success

Havering Skills Academy, one of BEP's bases in Havering

Havering Skills Academy, one of BEP's bases in Havering - Credit: Archant

A business consultant at a charity aiming to equip young people for the world of work has spoken out about the “significant deprivation” in the borough.

Geoff Hill, development consultant at the Business Education Partnership (BEP) group, said many people did not realise the obstacles facing youngsters because Havering is a “nice, leafy area”.

Mr Hill, who is also chairman of neighbouring Redbridge’s chamber of commerce, said the misconception was one of the driving forces behind the group’s work.

The charity, which has been around for more than 20 years, delivers thousands of work placements each year for disenfranchised young people across Havering and the surrounding boroughs.

And 95 per cent of those participants end up going into work, college or apprenticeships following a BEP intervention.

Mr Hill said in recent years, changes to government funding arrangements had forced the group to adapt and specialise, and now at-risk youngsters were one of its target demographics.

He said: “The youngsters that come to us – 95 per cent of them leave and then go on to something positive.

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“These are youngsters that probably would have been expected to become unemployed or drop out the system.

“This helps them find success – because a lot of people in the current system find this hard.”

The BEP works closely with councils and businesses to place youngsters in practical work environments.

Mr Hill said the placements were aimed at giving young people “a taste of what is expected when you’re employed”.

He said the schemes were effective because of BEP’s approach, which make sure people are “treated as individuals”.

To find out more email info@bepgroup.net or visit bepgroup.net.

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