Left to right at the Awards ceremony: Latika Chopra Wood Green JCP, Mr Stokes, Billy Erskine, Steven Fletcher, Nikki Stackpoole, Brigadier Richard Smith, Jane O'Neill - College Interim Principal and Chief Executive, Aaron Toomey, Ryan Hammond, Omar Holness, Ben Rimell, David Willis - Business in the Community
The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London is the first college in London to launch the brand new Supporting People into Employment using the Army Reserves (piloted under the name of SPEAR) course. The SPEAR course gives unemployed people the chance to train with the Army Reservists, keeping fit, having fun and gaining valuable skills for work. Seven students completed the pilot course, organised by Job Centre Plus and the College. The course has just finished and the student awards presentation took place at the College last week (Friday 13 June).
The intensive four-week course is endorsed and supported by DWP (Department of Work and Pensions). On the course, the students spent their first two weeks learning first aid procedures from professionally trained Army Medics, team building exercises and they even learnt about bomb disposal from an explosives expert! Following initial training, the students took part in a week's work experience ranging from retail and business administration to construction. In their final week, students practised interview techniques, effective job searches and essential job preparation with the College.
As part of the SPEAR programme, each student will have an interview for the Army Reserves and some will go on to join up. Ben Rimell from Tottenham, one of the SPEAR students, has already filled in his application for the reservists' catering division, and is eagerly waiting to start.
Aaron Toomey from Wood Green, fellow SPEAR student said: "I've really enjoyed the course; it's been such good fun to learn about the different regiments in the Reserves, and with all the skills that I've learnt over the last couple of weeks, I feel I'm ready to tackle any interview!"
Aaron continued: "I think the course is really well structured, and there's always something to do. The College really supported me and I would absolutely recommend this course to anyone that's unemployed. The course has really boosted my confidence and I feel more ready than ever to get myself out of unemployment and into a job."
Nikki Stackpoole from Dalston, another SPEAR student said: "I'm so grateful that I heard about this course, the experience the course has given me is something I wouldn't have achieved in a traditional classroom setting."
Brigadier Richard Smith, Deputy Commander London District said: "This has been an excellent opportunity to help support those members of the community struggling to find employment in North London. The initiative has enabled a closer working relationship with Job Centre Plus, The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London and Business in the Community; partnerships that the Army in London will carry forward and continue to establish."
Jane O'Neill, Interim College Principal and Chief Executive said: "I am delighted for the College to take been involved in such an exciting scheme, which opens up so many opportunities for the people taking part."