Disused bank becomes new centre for helping young people find employment

Fabia Begum, Mayor John Biggs, Dritan Nura and Tahmid Rashid at new 'WorkPath hub' in Watney Market.

Mayor John Biggs (centre) with Fabia Begum,  Dritan Nura and Tahmid Rashid (left to right) at the new WorkPath hub in Watney Market. Pic: Tower Hamlets Council

A former Santander bank in Tower Hamlets has been turned into a new centre to help tackle youth unemployment – a month after relaunching the ‘Young WorkPath’ programme.

The disused bank at Shadwell’s Watney Market, off the Commercial Road, reopened as a careers centre for ‘Young WorkPath’, a new council programme aimed specifically at those aged between 16 and 24 – the first of its kind in the borough.

Specific tailored support will be given to those particularly in need of extra assistance such as the borough’s looked-after children, care leavers and those young people with education health and care plans.

Deputy Young Mayor Sadia Ahmed told the Tower Hamlets Partnership Summit that in the past, higher education and prestigious careers had felt like “far-fetched concepts” for her peers.

Although, according to Ahmed, times are changing and young people demonstrate higher aspirations and a determination to break through old boundaries to dream bigger and “smash the glass ceiling into a million pieces.”

Fabia Begum, Dritan Nura and Tahmid Rashid, three young people who have benefitted from the council’s existing employment support services, attended the event.

Dritan Nura,  27, who has become an Associate Project Manager in the council’s business support team, said: “I can honestly say the advice they gave me helped change my future. I’ve now got a great career ahead of me.

“I think Young WorkPath is a great idea, it will give the right advice to young people to help them to make better decisions at an early stage.”

Watney Market, where a disused Santander Bank becomes Tower Hamlets Council’s new youth careers hub.

Watney Market, where the disused Santander Bank became Tower Hamlets Council’s new WorkPath hub. Pic: Google

Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs said: “Our inspiring young people are one of our greatest assets and we are committed to doing everything we can to offer them the opportunities they need to succeed.

“Our borough is home to an incredible array of businesses and our young residents should feel that they can aspire to have a successful career at any one of them.

“Young WorkPath will be the first programme of its kind. By adopting a joined up approach to the work journey of young people, I am confident that we can make a real difference to the next generation in Tower Hamlets.”

Councillor Joshua Peck, Cabinet Member for Work and Economic Growth, said: “Young WorkPath will build on a strong record that has seen council teams successfully supporting our residents into work and training in ever-growing numbers.

“Through our existing WorkPath programme, we are already working closely with business and education partners to raise aspirations and achievements among those who need that extra help and motivation to get a foot on the employment ladder.”

The youth programme is based on the council’s adult WorkPath programme which has already helped 700 people into jobs in the past 12 months.

It follows the council’s apprenticeship commitment which has so far managed to get 150 placings. Talks have also begun with contractors about to start on the new Town Hall construction in Whitechapel to make apprentices a key part of the project.

Tower Hamlets mayor Biggs arrives for opening of new youth employment hub at Watney Market

Mayor John Biggs (centre) with Fabia Begum,  Dritan Nura and Tahmid Rashid (left to right) at the new WorkPath hub in Watney Market. Pic: Tower Hamlets Council

The Watney Market hub is expected to open to the public before the end of April but young people can already take advantage of the training and employment services on offer. Call 0207 364 0626, email youngworkpath@towerhamlets.gov.uk or visit towerhamlets.gov.uk/youngworkpath for more information.

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