Southall young people become Street Elite

Fifteen young people from in and around the Havelock Estate, Southall, graduated from a unique ‘training for work’ programme called ‘Street Elite’ on Thursday, 2 July.

Street Elite works with young people who are not in education, employment and training and who are at risk of falling into crime. It develops their work and life skills through sports coaching. This particular group’s placement is funded jointly by Ealing Council, Catalyst Housing, Change Foundation and Berkley Foundation.

Participants undergo an initial 12-week training in which they learn to work with each other, how to take and give instructions and in which they develop their motivation and reliability. When they have completed this, they move on to deliver sports sessions  to local young people.

The young people were congratulated at a ceremony held at the Young People’s Centre, Southall. They were presented with certificates before they spoke about the difference taking part in Street Elite had made to their lives.

The young people will now take their first step into work with a two-week construction placement with Berkeley Homes, Catalyst Homes or Ealing Council’s youth service. In previous years, 79% of participants have moved on to work or further training after completing the programme.

Rachid Hassan (22) is one of the programme participants. He said: “I used to think that a job would come to me, now I realise I need to go to the job. I was only in this project for the money at first, turn up, play sport, get paid- easy. But with the coaches’ support and mentorship I soon realised that it’s not about the money it’s all about the bigger picture- my future. Street Elite has offered me many things over the past few months, but the biggest thing it’s offered for me is a future.”

Councillor Rai, cabinet member for children and young people said: “This nine-month programme has given our young people the opportunity to learn key transferable skills for employment, which will also serve them well in life. They now have the opportunity to take these skills into the workplace thanks to their sustained commitment. I congratulate all the young people that have gone through the programme and thank all the partners that have come together to invest in their future.”

Rob Perrins, Managing Director of the Berkeley Group, commented: “We want to get more and more disengaged young people reconnected with the world of work. This is our future workforce and that makes it a real issue for business. It’s why Berkeley is one of the partners in Street Elite and why we put so much emphasis on creating new jobs for young Londoners”.

Andy Sellins, chief executive of the Change Foundation, summed up the initiative: “Seeing young people start their first job is one of the most rewarding parts of our work and Street Elite is all about making this happen.”

For more information on Street Elite, go to www.street-elite.org. To find out about activities and opportunities for young people in Ealing, go to www.youngealing.co.uk.