Armed forces launch 'Skill Force' youth initiative

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The Armed Forces Minister, John Spellar, yesterday launched 'Skill Force' - the youth initiative aimed at 14 - 16 year olds to prepare them for the world of work.

The scheme will make a positive contribution to the youth of the nation by enhancing pupils' employment opportunities and attitudes by integrating the youth initiatives of the Armed Forces with the Government's wider youth policies - particularly those aimed at capability building, social inclusion and citizenship.

Mr Spellar said, "The Armed Forces play an important role in local communities, and this scheme will make the best use of the services reputation for the delivery of problem solving, inter-personal communications and team building skills."

The main focus of the scheme is Key Skills training which will be delivered to pupils who are not expected to secure 5 GCSE's Grades A*-C, but who have the ability to achieve some GSCE's Grades D-G. There will also be an opportunity to take part in Duke of Edinburgh' Award Scheme, St John's First Aid Young life Saver Award and ASDAN (Award Scheme Accreditation and Development Network) Bronze or Silver Awards.

Teams of trained instructors who have served in the Armed Forces will teach groups of pupils in years 10 and 11 from schools in Norfolk and Newcastle where the initiative is being piloted. Taught for around two days per week, the syllabus, developed in partnership with each school also aims to reduce truancy by providing challenging and innovative vocational training that leads to improved attendance.

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