GOSPORT College has been praised by Ofsted after it helped to significantly reduce the number of young people out of work, education or training.
An initiative by Fareham College, three local schools and a private training provider, it was launched in September 2010.
Since then the number of so-called Neets – those not in education, employment or training – in the area has dramatically reduced.
In November 2009 it stood at 212 but by the same time a year later it was cut to 170. Now, that number has dropped to just 70 people, which has drawn praise from Ofsted which paid a visit to monitor the college’s progress.
Steve Dingsdale, assistant principal at the college, which has its main base at Fareham Reach and a hairdressing salon in Gosport High Street, said: ‘It’s been highly successful, as we can see from the figures.
‘We have targeted the courses which we think would interest young people not in education, employment or training.
‘They’re still getting the same qualifications they would get at any other college and a lot of them are going into employment. The students absolutely love it.’
The college provides more vocational courses such as hairdressing, mechanics and building, giving young people the chance to continue in education and progress to further learning or skilled employment.
Head of the motor vehicle course Paul Brimecome said: ‘Support is central and crucial to the success of the provision.
‘The way we treat learners, as young adults, is also important as they respond well and this helps them to succeed.
‘It’s about having the right staff. They give them such a grounding.
‘Youngsters want a chance to get into motorsport. It’s an excellent opportunity for them to get a career.
‘For the lads we’ve got in motorsport, they could now get a job in Formula 1, for instance. They wouldn’t be able to do that without motorsport experience.’
Reuben Mahy, 28, is on the Level 3 brickwork course.
He said: ‘Before I came here I was stuck in dead-end jobs and not doing much about it. Then I thought it was about time I did something with my life. I should have done it when I left school, but I didn’t enjoy school and this put me off going to college because I thought it would be the same.
‘Being in the workshop is the best part as it’s hands-on and I’m learning a trade. If you’re thinking about going to college, take the opportunity to while you can.
‘When you get to your late 20s like me and haven’t done it, you’ll wish you had.’