Jobless youth offered chance to go into business

September 24, 1999

Thirty unemployed and underemployed young people are getting free tuition, bus passes and food vouchers to do a part-time business degree at Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan universities.

"When I first read about the project it seemed too good to be true," said 19-year-old Chris Hill, who is unemployed but hoping to find part-time work as a barman. "I had been wondering how to get into business management and was looking for a job which would train me. Getting a degree will be a much faster way."

Mr Hill spent a year as an office junior after leaving school. He enrolled at college but dropped out before A levels.

Mike Parks, who manages the project at the University of Leeds, said: "We bend over backwards to get people in. Potential students are interviewed academically. We are not looking for three grade As at A level but quite often they have GCSEs and about three years' work experience."

The project is funded by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. Students will take day or evening classes for two years after which they have the option of continuing their part-time degree, transferring to full-time study or receiving a certificate of higher education.

They will also do four weeks' work experience and get career development help. The project is limited to unemployed and underemployed people aged between 18 and 24 living in one of four eligible areas of Leeds.

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