Careers help for Bognor youngsters

C120115-1 Bog Careers  phot kate                                 ''''Tom Hunter, left,  and Angela Gates, right,  who are instructors with the targeted education part of the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, talk to students at the Phoenix Centre as the Careers advice service Connexions hosts its final training event in Bognor Regis before closure.C120115-1
C120115-1 Bog Careers phot kate ''''Tom Hunter, left, and Angela Gates, right, who are instructors with the targeted education part of the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, talk to students at the Phoenix Centre as the Careers advice service Connexions hosts its final training event in Bognor Regis before closure.C120115-1

A final training advice fair for young people in Bognor Regis has been held by the youth service organiser.

Connexions hosted the event to bring teenagers and course and training providers together for one last time under its control.

The youth service is facing changes as the county council seeks to save money to match its dwindling support from the government.

Some 35 young people went along to the Pheonix Centre last Wednesday (January 25) to look around the information on training and careers on show on nine stands.

Rose Green resident Sophie Bye, 17, who is studying an NVQ in childcare at Chichester College, said: “This event shows there are lots of opportunities for young people.

“You have just got to get out there and find it. It will not get handed to you on a plate.”

Fellow childcare student Kayleigh Francis, 17, of Bognor, said: “Connexions is how myself and Sophie got on our courses. People go to Connexions to get jobs and help with their CVs. Without Connexions, it’s going to be hard.”

One of those taking part in the event was Sportiv8 football tutor and course co-ordinator Paul Harris.

He has regularly attended occasions held by Connexions. He said: “I will miss going to events like this. It’s a case of meeting and greeting the kids as they come in.

“Government changes over the past 18 months have made it extremely difficult to talk to young people about their choices.

“For young people who need motivation and advice, there is very little that is relevant to them to know where to go and for advice.

Mark Hibbert, a Sportiv8 boxing tutor, said: “It’s useful for us to come to events like this to find out what other providers are offering. It’s hard for us, otherwise, to reach young people.

“Going on a Sportiv8 course gives them confidence, discipline, self motivation and a qualification.”

Allie Honeywood, a personal adviser with Connexions, said the service would end on March 31. It dated back 18 years and had been running in its current form since 2001.

“We don’t yet know what is happening when we go,” she said. “There will be provision for young people, but we don’t know what it will look like. It is not disappearing altogether, but it will be different.

The fair was the first and last to be held at the Phoenix Centre after its opening on The Regis School campus last month.

Also present were the Outset youth volunteering scheme, Jobcentre Plus and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

Two of its crew managers, Tom Hunter and Angela Gates, were promoting its new course for 16 to 19-year-olds who are not in school or work.