Tristram Hunt learns how City Gateway keeps youths out of East End gangs

Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt (far right) meets youngsters at City Gateway with Women's m

Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt (far right) meets youngsters at City Gateway with Women's minister Gloria De Piero - Credit: City Gateway

The Shadow Education Secretary has visited an alternative education programme in London’s East End to see how it is being used to help youngsters at risk of involvement in gang violence, crime, drugs and sexual exploitation.

Labour’s Tristram Hunt looked in at City Gateway education charity along with Shadow Equalities Minister Gloria de Piero to study the programme and meet some of the youths involved.

Their fact-finding visit, just 10 weeks ahead of May’s General Election, was to learn how the charity provides alternative education for those at risk of long-term unemployment and poverty, as well as their risk of involvement in street gang culture.

They met youngsters and disadvantaged women at the charity’s Mastmaker Court centre at Millwall, on the Isle of Dogs, who are on pre-employment training or apprenticeships with one of its 150 corporate partners in Canary Wharf and the City.

The charity’s chief executive, Eddie Stride, pointed out the additional needs that young people from poverty backgrounds face in apprenticeships.

“We showed Mr Hunt how disadvantaged or ‘disengaged’ youngsters can thrive in the workplace with intervention and support,” Mr Stride said afterwards.

“Apprenticeships need to work to help build a sustainable career—we see their lives transformed.”

City Gateway’s extra support includes safeguarding intervention, soft skills development and work experience with large corporate companies and small firms in Canary Wharf and the City.

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The Shadow Secretary said he was impressed to see the “innovative approach” of working with young people who have fallen out of mainstream education.

Mr Hunt added: “This tailored support and the partnerships formed with the business community is a great model for seeing young people overcome barriers and succeed in life.”

The charity’s success rate for job placements is 17 per cent above the national average, despite “low starting levels” of many trainees.

It has a track record of kick-starting careers for youngsters who have slipped through society’s net, facing life without a secure future, and has now been nominated for Apprenticeship Provider of Year award during National Apprenticeship Week starting March 9.