SEPTEMBER marks the start of the academic year, with many young people in Ealing embarking on new educational careers at college and sixth form – but what if their chosen path doesn’t work out?

Skills Training UK’s Ealing and Wembley centres offer free BTECs and traineeships to those looking for an alternative post-16 educational experience.

Three routes are offered: a range of BTEC vocational qualifications, including English and maths for 16-18s, traineeships for 16-24s, and apprenticeships.

Last year, 16-year-old Noon Abubakr, who moved to Ealing with her family from Sudan, was turned away by schools and colleges due to the timing of the academic year.

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She was referred to Skills Training UK by Ealing Council and, in just three months, achieved qualifications in English, maths, customer service and personal development and employability.

She enjoyed a work placement at an O2 store and landed a job as a supervisor at educational theme park in central London.

She said: “I was scared when we moved – a new country, a new way of life – and it was frustrating sitting around all day when I just wanted to get on with my education and life.

“My tutors have really built up my confidence and skills, and helped me when I had problems.”

Graham Clarke, director of education and social mobility at Skills Training UK, said: “Sometimes the first option following school isn’t the right one for all young people and our vocational qualifications are an exciting alternative to traditional college or sixth-form.”

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