No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Bridging the gap of Social Exclusion


Some would say that being a disadvantaged young person in Stockport does have its advantages. Indeed, 93% of young people who have attended the Pathfinder Centre said they would recommend the Centre to a friend.

This is encouraging feedback for the Senior Management Team of Stockport & High Peak TEC who took the step some 18 months ago to invest much of the TEC’s resources into the financing of the Centre. This was in order to tackle the growing problem of disaffected young people who have seemingly slipped through the education system.

Without the Centre, these young people would have had little hope of finding a job or indeed a suitable training course and many require help at the most basic level in order to get onto the first rung of life.

Trevor Jones, TEC Chief Executive comments, "The Pathfinder Centre is one of the most innovative and exciting ventures that we have embarked upon. We are convinced it will make a major contribution to maximising the potential of young people particularly those most at a disadvantage."

Typically, most young people who come to the Centre are unemployed and have little confidence or motivation. Efforts at the Centre are concentrated on enhancing opportunities and acting as a vehicle to obtaining and maintaining employment in the long term.

The young people who are referred to the Centre by the Careers Service and the TEC take part in a two week initial assessment programme, known as ‘Springboard’. This focuses on developing the young person’s basic skills, motivation and their basic understanding of the world of work, especially in relation to the needs of local employers. The activities are largely based around group exercises and include: using a computer; operating a video camera; climbing and abseiling.

Young people continue to receive support and advice for 13 weeks after completing the programme from the Centre’s ‘Tracking Team’. The team is there to help resolve any difficulties being encountered and to try and ensure young people remain on their training programmes.

The Centre also offers a ‘drop-in’ facility on a Tuesday evening. Young people can receive careers advice and support in a friendly and safe environment, where they can meet people who are facing similar problems. Perhaps what has made the Centre such a success with Stockport’s youth, is that young people are treated fairly and with respect in a casual and informal atmosphere, which allows them to learn and work as a team.

Entering its second year, the Bridging Exclusion [Youthstart] ESF project is specifically helping young people who have been expelled from mainstream education. As a result they are likely to be excluded from many of life’s opportunities, especially involving the world of work and further learning. Consequently, the project offers subjects which are directly work related including Information Technology, vocational education and training; basic key skills; work experience; mentoring; extensive careers education and guidance; and a programme of personal and social education.

In its first year, the Pathfinder Centre has helped nearly 200 young people. After finishing the programme, 43% have gone on to further training, which includes Modern Apprenticeship and National Traineeship programmes, 19% have found employment and 5% have gone into Further Education, results which speak for themselves.

TEC Chairman, David Hopkins, commented "The new IT revolution has created a society where too many young people find themselves disaffected. Greater access to opportunity is therefore essential and we ignore it at our peril. Here we embrace all that is best in bringing the disadvantaged back into mainstream education and employment".

The Pathfinder Centre has been set up in association with Lifetime Careers, the careers service for Stockport and High Peak and Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!