Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has officially opened Barking's new £14 million Technical Skills Academy.
The brand new facility, in Barking town centre’s Short Blue Place, is designed to give young people a real work environment in which to learn trades such as hairdressing and catering.
Run by Barking and Dagenham College on behalf of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, the centre features salons and restaurants that are run as businesses and open to the public.
College principal Cathy Walsh said the facility, which took in its first students in September, was a step in the right direction to deal with the borough’s 500-plus young people classified as NEET - 'not in employment, education or training'.
“The new Technical Skills Academy will provide fantastic career opportunities for local young people, preparing them for work in well-paid skilled trades and professions,” said Walsh.
“Further education colleges are leading the way for job creation and at Barking and Dagenham College and now, with the Technical Skills Academy, we focus on the end result by ensuring that our students leave us with skills and experience of the real world.”
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