Sadness as training centre closes its doors

By Ian Dipple Friday 04 July 2014 Updated: 07/07 12:01

A TRAINING centre which has helped hundreds of young people into work has closed.

CSV Training and Enterprise, based in Lakeside, was founded 14 years ago to support unemployed adults and young people in Redditch and Bromsgrove.

But trustees of the national charity decided earlier this year due to the ‘tough financial environment’ they would close their 12 training centres across the country in order to focus on their volunteering and social action work.

The charity lost a £1million strategic grant from the Cabinet Office in 2011 and during 2011/12 and 2012/13 sustained losses of £3.1million.

The Redditch centre, which started out on Church Green East in 2000 but later moved to its current home in Arrow Road North, officially closed this week.

Its work focused on helping 16 to 18-year-olds develop personal and practical skills and qualifications to allow them to access higher levels of training, work or further education as well as 19 to 24-year-olds gain work experience while working towards qualifications.

HRH Princess Anne personally chose to visit the centre in 2011 to find out more about its work.

During its 14 years the centre helped over 1,500 people gain new skills and qualifications with more than 1,000 going on to gain employment or further training.

Sue Williams, centre manager, said she felt there was still a need for their services but they had been hit by a combination of a squeeze on funding and increased competition for contracts.

“We’ve always been a local centre, nobody thought of us as part of this big national organisation, we were very much the people next door, a bit like the Redi Centre,” she said.

“We’ve helped nearly 100 people a year into employment. We’ve done a lot of work with young people who can’t cope with the college environment or have disengaged from school or been caring for a parent and missed a lot of their education. We’ve been a nurturing environment for people like that.

“But contracts are now going to the big conglomerates and there’s nothing you can do about that.

“It has been a pleasure to work in Redditch and to play a major part in the local community. I would like to take this opportunity to thank learners, volunteers, job centre and Connexions staff and my own staff who have worked with and supported me over this time.”

CSV chief executive Lucy de Groot said: “Despite hard work and intensive effort, we are unable to make our learning operations financially viable in a realistic time frame. I want to pay tribute to all my colleagues who have done such wonderful work on these programmes over many years.”

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