Hope for 'doomed' training centre

There is renewed hope for the revival of a construction skills training centre forced to shut last week for financial reasons.

Publication of our story online and in-paper about the demise of SkillsGateway, a publicly-funded Medway-based organisation that helps disadvantaged young people learn vital trades, prompted numerous offers of help.

The story highlighted the plight of two 18-year olds Dan Evans and John Bridges, who had started their Level 2 training but were told to go home because of the shock closure.

Paul Ellis, managing director of Limen Construction, Medway City Estate, contacted centre chiefs Tony Foster and Angie Vaney offering to take on the teenagers.

Mr Ellis said: "I have just read your article regarding the closure of the skills gateway and in particular the students Dan Evans and John Bridges.

"We would wish to help in gaining them their level 2 nvq qualification and would suggest, we could provide a work placement through our construction company and administer their nvq through our training company Constructive Training Ltd."

Mr Ellis said the closure was disappointing and a great shame and it was up to local firms to help out. "Appreciating we are a small business and there is a limit to wha we can do, but we are always willing to listen and try and do our part," he said.

"If we can’t help ourselves, I’m willing to try to get other people involved. Unfortunately, in terms of work placements, there is an apathy among employers. "

He added that in an economic downturn, it was even more important to train young people and employers who failed to do so would suffer. "In the long run, it will be to their detriment."

Angie Vaney, a former director of SkillsGateway and now setting up a new organisation Love 2 Learn, said the offer from Mr Ellis was brilliant. "We’re setting up a meeting so the guys can meet him and he can meet them," she said. "People obviously want us to carry on and survive and for the kids to have somewhere to go for their education."

She was hopeful that the new organisation would be able to operate from new temporary accommodation from next Monday. She added that it could become a permanent arrangement.

"Any offers of help are gratefully received and we’ve also had an offer from Medway council for free use of one of their halls. We’ve got offers coming in from all over the place so thank you to the Kent Messenger Group."

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