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Disused Santander Bank in Watney Market becomes Tower Hamlets Council’s new youth careers hub

PUBLISHED: 14:29 19 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:25 21 March 2018

Youth services relaunch at Stepney's Haileybury centre in February. Picture: Kois Miah

Youth services relaunch at Stepney's Haileybury centre in February. Picture: Kois Miah

Kois Miah

An old High Street bank has been turned into a ‘workpath’ hub by Tower Hamlets Council to help tackle youth unemployment a month after relaunching its youth service.

Launch of 'apprentices pledge' by Tower Hamlets Council in December which has already notched up 150 placings. Picture: Kois MiahLaunch of 'apprentices pledge' by Tower Hamlets Council in December which has already notched up 150 placings. Picture: Kois Miah

The former Santander bank at Shadwell’s Watney Market off the Commercial Road reopens soon as a careers centre for the council’s new ‘Young WorkPath’ programme to get more school-leavers and people under 24 into jobs.

The programme being started after the troubled youth service was rebooted at Stepney’s Haileybury youth centre recognises young people in the East End are often unable to “seize opportunities” in today’s diverse employment market, despite Canary Wharf and The City on their doorstep.

Higher education and prestigious careers feel like “far-fetched concepts” for many, according to Deputy Young Mayor Sadia Ahmed at Tower Hamlets Partnership’s summit last month. But they were now determine d to break through the barriers, she predicts.

The new programme is using council resources to help young people at any stage of their career path—whether they’re still at school, in college or have already left education.

Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs arrives for opening of new youth employment hub at Watney Market. Picture source: LBTHTower Hamlets mayor John Biggs arrives for opening of new youth employment hub at Watney Market. Picture source: LBTH

Cllr Joshua Peck said: “We are working with businesses and education institutions to improve achievements of those who need that extra help and motivation to get a foot on the employment ladder.”

The new centre opening next month is running training courses and other careers activities as well as having walk-in enquiry sessions at set times during the week.

The programme is based on the council’s adult WorkPath programme which has already helped 700 people into jobs in the past 12 months alone and secured 150 new apprenticeships.

It follows the council’s apprenticeship commitment in December which has so far managed to get 150 placings, including guiding small firms get through the daunting process, compared to supermarket chains or Canary Wharf banks finding it relatively straightforward.

Apprentice opportunities created in the past 12 months have been in construction, technology, schools and other office-based businesses. Talks have also begun with contractors about to start on the new Town Hall construction in Whitechapel to make apprentices a key part of the project.

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