Young people in the Lewes Road area are gaining work experience in a pilot project that started this week (Monday 8 July). Five teenagers are helping renovate the popular Moulescoomb Boxing Gym on Hodshrove Lane.
The team will assist the contracted developers, Mears and Fraser Edmonds, to make internal repairs to the council-owned building. The renovation includes improving facilities, insulation and decoration.
Research by Brighton & Hove City Council's Youth Employability Service (YES) has found many young people leave school without qualifications, skills and confidence which limits their future employment prospects. Even young people who have qualifications find it difficult to obtain good quality work experience. In a highly competitive work market, some young people need help to access the job-based experience that employers look for when recruiting.
The work experience, which runs for two to three weeks, is designed to boost confidence and provide valuable knowledge. Young people aged sixteen to twenty one were offered a place to take part in this joint project run by YES and the Residents Involvement Team Lewes Road Consortium funded by the Estate Development Budget.
Cllr Bill Randall, chair of the Housing Committee, said: "This is a great opportunity for young people caught in a catch 22 situation where they need experience to gain work and yet they need work to gain the necessary experience.
Lewes Road residents decided it was important to revamp this important gym and provide training opportunities to young people working with our excellent Youth Employability Service. This project is a great opportunity to find out what having a job involves and to learn skills and is an outstanding example of partnership working between the council, residents and local employers."
The aim is to provide a toolkit of skills for people to try out to see what they are best suited to. Tasks involved include carpentry, plumbing, painting, decorating, plastering, electrical assistant and building a new changing room.
James Cryer, Partnership Manager for Mears, said: "Mears is committed to working with the community, and this project is a fantastic example of what we strive to achieve. Not only are we providing a great working experience for these young people, we are also bringing back the popular boxing gym in the heart of the neighbourhood."
Barry Burtenshaw, Chair of the Lewes Road Consortium, said: "Our consortium brings together a number of smaller resident and tenant associations to get things done locally. We are delighted to be on board for this flag ship pilot and we hope that it marks the start of more win-win projects for our community
Everyone taking part will also be given information about health and safety and how to be a valuable member of a team in the workplace. At the end of the placement, there will be an event to launch the new look gym and celebrate the achievements of all those responsible for making the changes.
The council has co-ordinated the project with representatives from the council's YES and the Lewes Road Consortium teams.
The project is supported by Mears, Fraser Edmonds, Kingspan and Harman Plant Hire. If successful, further opportunities of this kind will be arranged later in year.