Wearside’s got Vtalent

Roxana Ivan, Anna Waldron, and Sophie Watson.

Roxana Ivan, Anna Waldron, and Sophie Watson.

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A VOLUNTEERING programme is inspiring Wearside students to aim for new heights.

City of Sunderland College has again launched the Vtalent initiative, aimed at developing young people’s confidence and employability skills.

The scheme is for those aged between 16 and 25-years-old who are currently unemployed or lack the relevant experience or training to progress into a vocational or educational-based career.

Vtalent involves a volunteer placement for 44 weeks, which includes learning support, mentoring, youth work and the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme.

A typical week consists of four days on work placement and one day in the college where students work towards qualifications including a Level 2 Certificate in Equality and Diversity, a Level 2 in Volunteering and a Level 2 in Safeguarding Children and Young People.

Anna Waldron, Vtalent programme co-ordinator based at the college’s Shiney Row campus, said: “We have had fantastic success and are delighted to support the confidence of our learners. Our aim is to help them improve their chances of employability once completing the programme.

“Many have progressed along a range of career paths such as teaching and youth work after completing the placement, which is certainly something to shout about!”

Roxana Ivan, 25, who is currently enrolled on the programme, said: “Vtalent was exactly what I was looking for. Before joining, I lacked the confidence to pursue a career in teaching and it was getting me down.

“The programme has transformed my life. It is a great experience and I feel like I have really flourished as a result. The process has made me realise that I want to work with young people. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me.”

Sophie Watson, 19, from Houghton, a former Vtalent learner, said: “Vtalent has helped me in many ways. The placement helped me to gain more experience within the Supported Learning Department, which is what I wanted to specialise in, and as a result has helped me to find work as a nursery assistant.”

The positions available on the Vtalent Programme are all voluntary, with the programme offering candidates an expense and subsistence allowance of up to £100 per week, and those who successfully complete the programme can claim a grant of up to £1,500 to assist them with further training, education or employment.

For further information visit website www.citysun.ac.uk or telephone 511 6000.