Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

CITA Puts Byte into Helping Unemployed

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

CITA Puts Byte into Helping Unemployed

Article excerpt

Unemployed people in Newcastle are finding new hope, thanks to the community IT academy CITA.

The city-based project aims to give long-term unemployed new skills as IT technicians. The computer maintenance training includes diagnostic fault-finding, the deconstruction of machines for spare parts, and the repair or refurbishment of old computers.

As their skills develop, the trainees will learn how to create and support networks of computers, and will also have the opportunity to become accredited with industry-recognised qualifications.

CITA is the brainchild of Peter Hill and John Sadler, who approached staff at Newcastle City Council's economic development division for support. A management committee exists that includes voluntary sector representation from the east and west of the city, and will expand to incorporate feedback from the trainees themselves.

The project has attracted grants from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund and the European Social Fund. These, together with resources from employment services, enable the trainees to receive a basic wage for their time at the project.

Project manager Lewis Atkinson said: "Over the past two years, we have assisted 24 trainees, around 16 of whom have secured employment after leaving us. We are proud of the changes we have made to the lives of those who have been on the project, not only in the 90% of whom have gained qualifications but the real changes we have made to their levels of confidence and self-esteem. Some of those have gained enough confidence to start their own business ( we feel proud to be a part of that process." CITA offers its employees an ILM (Intermediate Labour Market) programme over a six-month training period in which they can attain industry-recognized qualifications such as the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) A+, and N+. …

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