DISADVANTAGED youngsters have been given a boost after spending three weeks building up their skills.

Sussex Education Business Partnership have developed the Pre Employment Training Programme (PEP) to build-up youngsters’ employability.

The programme was delivered in partnership with Affinity Sutton Housing and Plumpton College to nine youngsters living in an Affinity Sutton Housing Estate in rural Hurstpierpoint.

The group took part in the three-week scheme and have climbed trees, herded sheep, made artefacts fired in a working forge, cared for animals and horses and developed their own website and completed a full week work experience. Some of the challenges these young people face is a lack of transport little or no local employment opportunities, low aspiration and worklessness.

A PEP spokesman said: “They have learned the importance of team work, self awareness, problem-solving and creative and analytical thinking all of them have successfully gained an accredited employability qualification – for most their first.”

A number of the group have already secured progressions into further training or employment through an apprenticeship. Each day they shared experiences and record their skills and training journey in a daily blog which is going to be available to read on their website. The website is the programmes live legacy and an insight into their PEP experiences and journey told in their own words and acts ‘shop window’ for future employers seeking to recruit locally. Through digital and social media technology, the PEP engages young people to participate in an interactive activity based accredited training programme which aims to equip them with life and employability skills to progress into employment.

Ryan Matthews, who works on the Ready to Work team at Affinity Sutton, said: “We commissioned this programme to support young people who looking to gain extra qualifications in Hurstpierpoint.

“We’ve had nine very lively young people complete the course and hopefully they will use the course to better their future, find themselves a job, apprenticeship or further training.”

A website will be live next week at www.hurstpierpointpep.co.uk.