This will be the last news item for Hope Training, as the department formally closes down at the end of August 2015.

The Door started to provide training opportunities to young people quite early in its 24 year history, recognising the number of young people who needed to learn some practical skills and get work experience. These ranged from helping out with administration through to the establishment of the first Tranzform shop. Teaching people things like Music Technology, Art and Woodwork became a feature of The Door. This led to opportunities to create more formal educational schemes for first post-16 young people and then those who found mainstream school problematic. Over time a number of local schools commissioned what became Hope Training to educate their students. Alongside this we sought grant funding to continue to train those who other’s had left behind.

In recent years, as the education system became more bureaucratic and less cash-rich, we have found the demands to become more ‘school-like’ – for instance to provide higher leveled qualifications and full curriculum timetables – has coupled with less available¬†from schools and colleges. Both of these things threatened Hope Training’s existence – from a sustainability and vision perspective.

At The Door, we stand on the core principles of youthwork – empowerment, informal education, equality of opportunity and voluntary participation. Taking a step back to look at Hope Training it became clear that circumstances were making the department veer away from these principles. Young people weren’t voluntary signing up for training, they were disempowered in the choices of curriculum, our education style was becoming more formal, and chances weren’t available to all.

That said, 2014/15 has finished on a real high. We have ended the year with a small but committed bunch of young people who have wanted to learn and achieve, and have chosen their own pathways and futures. I have been humbled by the way the staff – most of whom are being made redundant – have worked tirelessly to ensure that each young person achieves their potential and has a clear plan for September. This is testimony to the way we work, and the sense of team, we have at The Door.

As we look back over the many years of Tranzform and then Hope Training, we can be proud of what we’ve achieved, and more importantly what our students have achieved. One thing is sure, we remain committed to helping young people and their families reach their potential. Whilst Hope Training is closing, the hope that The Door brings into people’s lives will remain.

The End of an Era