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Learning a trade at West London Day Centre

May 21 2009
The centre has set up a project so homeless people can learn a range of trades that could secure a college place, a job and a career If you want to get back to work but don't feel you have the right skills, help is at hand. The West London Day Centre (WLDC), working with the City of Westminster College, has set up a DIY training project for homeless people to learn a range of trades which could secure you a place at a vocational training college, a job and, eventually, a career. "We started it just over two years ago in an old betting office," says Stuart Allen from the City of Westminster College, who runs the course. "It was so successful that we're still doing it, but we had to move away from the original building. We started at the WLDC in September and we're already busy. We offer a 13-week course, each week running from Monday to Thursday." Students have to commit to coming for at least three days a week. In return they get expert tuition, plus £3 for lunch and their bus fare. The classes on offer range from plastering, tiling and carpentry, to painting, wallpapering, basic plumbing and brick laying. There's no official start date, so people can start the course whenever they like. After they've been in to meet Stuart and decided on the skills they want to learn, they need to receive a referral, but after that they're good to go. "We're looking for people who are motivated in some way, and this course really builds on that," says Stuart. "We work with them on an individual basis and the course is quite dynamic. " The course has so far received plenty of applicants, and had those who have moved on to fulltime employment as well as those who are about to move into their first flat and wanted the skills to decorate their homes. "We also welcome refugees," says Stuart, "who may simply want the chance to mix with English speakers and practice the language in a working environment. We're prepared to take anyone with the enthusiasm and commitment to sign up for the 13 weeks and come in for at least three days per week for that time, no matter what their housing status." The scheme offers a safe and supportive place to learn, and a stepping-stone into vocational college or work. For admissions advice, call Stuart on 020 7723 3693. The City of Westminster College, which provides a broad range of courses for the homeless, operate at The Passage, St Martins, and the Cardinal Hume drop-in centre. They have courses on art, IT, personal development and many other subjects. For more details about these courses please contact Ita Leavy, on 020 7258 2818.