Hundreds of people have been given help in gaining new skills to improve their prospects for finding work.
People of all ages have benefited from the free or low cost courses provided by Rushden Learning Centre, with many of them attending a special presentation last month to celebrate their achievements.
The centre, which is part of Bedford College, allows people to gain new skills in their spare time during the day, evening and on Saturdays.
Brett Suter, 39, from Rushden, achieved Level 1 and 2 qualifications in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher and Sage.
He used the skills he learned during the courses to help prepare a business plan for his prospective van conversion business, turning business style vans into camping homes. Brett said: “I already had a basic understanding of IT but these courses have really helped me gain the further skills I needed to prepare and present business plans.”
Anne Bellamy, 62, from Rushden and Hilary Dore, 58, from Higham Ferrers were both made redundant when Dawson Books relocated from Rushden to Norwich in 2011.
They were part of a group who attended courses at the centre to help find further employment.
Hilary now works for a local café. Anne works as passenger support for disabled children and is also a catering assistant at a local school.
Anne said: “We don’t necessarily use all the skills we learned at the centre in our new roles, but the training and experience definitely helped us to find these jobs. IT skills are needed for everything now and the internet is a big help when looking for work.”
Hilary added: “All the staff have been so helpful and supportive, we would definitely recommend it to anyone, of any age.”
For details go to www.thelearningcentres.co.uk/Rushden-Learning-Centre.aspx.
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