A new one-stop shop for young people looking for employment, education or training has opened in Reading town centre.

The Skills and Employment Youth Hub will be operated by Brighter Futures for Children’s Elevate careers service in partnership with JobCentre Plus and other partners in the Curious Lounge, in the Pinnacle building, Tudor Road.

The hub will offer a fresh new way of supporting and offering advice to Reading’s young people to avoid them becoming long term NEET (not in employment, education or training).

Elevate will leave its current home in Reading Central Library to relocate to Curious Lounge but the hub will operate ‘virtually’ initially due to the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Young people aged 16-25 will have access to a wide range of services in the hub, including: advice on the academic and vocational opportunities available; first-hand experience of work places through the DWP Kick Start scheme; training sessions from local partners and employers; access to digital technology within the hub; resources to help with career planning; training on CV building, interview preparation and communication skills and drop-in support from health practitioners.

Young people can be referred to the service by their DWP Work Coach or Youth Employability Coach.

Prof Dr Kate Reynolds, Director of Education at Brighter Futures for Children, said“The creation of the Skills and Employment Youth Hub signifies a very exciting time for Elevate careers service.

“I am thrilled that Elevate will be leading the way in the effort to support young people to secure employment, education or training after leaving school or college.

“We have already made significant progress in reducing the number of young people NEET in Reading and this project will serve to boost these efforts further.”

Cllr Ashley Pearce, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Education, said: “Some young people struggle to find the path that is right for them after leaving full-time education and it is soul-destroying to see such wasted talent.

“The Skills and Employment Youth Hub will be a one-stop shop located in a lively environment with space for young people to meet employers, training and education providers and where they can gain the skills they need to take their next positive steps.”