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Dame Caroline Dinenage DBE MP visits Plan B Alternative Provision

For immediate release 04/10/2022. Plan B trainees and staff were delighted to welcome Dame Caroline Dinenage to their new marine industry skills training centre including a bespoke carpentry and boat building workshops in Gosport. Talking to Directors, John and Vikki Gillard, she caught up on the development of Plan B’s post 16 provision and its mission to help train students from 16-24 years old with experience, skills, and qualifications as a route to employability within the marine Industry and beyond. Caroline confessed that this is an issue she clearly recognises not only locally but as being a national recruitment shortfall as much as a Gosport and Lee on The Solent problem that is being constantly reported to her by business owners in the area and said she is really pleased to see Plan B solving a problems of students at risk of being NEETS with the needs of local employers bringing young people into entry level positions within industry. Caroline went on to look at the new carpentry workshop and meet Trainees who were proud to show off their work, including a beautifully handmade paddle crafted by one of Plan B’s high achieving students who has worked alongside the team for 5 years now, starting the programme when he was 12 years old having fallen out of the mainstream school system. Another student received high praise from Caroline for his newly built, and beautifully finished trestles on which was a small rowing skiff, currently under construction and will be the second of its type built by the trainees, under the watchful eye of Plan B’s workshop manager, Jesse Doyle. Jesse talked Caroline through the stages of progression for students coming into the workshop for the first time and the well-trodden pathway to develop skills, which he had been along himself years previously having left school at a young age to begin a successful carpentry and boatbuilding career. Caroline met water sports manager Chris ‘Obelix’ Hill who has been training students safely on the water for over 30 years and a wealth of knowledge about opportunities within the marine industry. Plan B’s welfare officer, Gill Heron also talked to Caroline about the OFQUAL accredited qualifications she is delivering to students with a clear employability focus and the importance of this underpinning the student experience with Plan B to ensure they can go forward into fulfilling employment locally and worldwide.

Caroline said “It was great to meet the team at The Plan B and learn more about their work delivering vocational skills based on the marine industry. I saw some impressive craftsmanship in action and enjoyed hearing about future plans and ambitious projects – everything from cooking lessons to gondola making!”

Trainee showing off his paddle.

John Gillard showing Dame Caroline Dinenage DBE MP the Cornish Gig.

Note for editor. The Plan B AP Community Interest Company Plan B is an innovative Community project that brings about change for disadvantaged young people in the Southampton, Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant areas of Hampshire UK by using a combination of practical maritime activities with vocational workshop training. Young people (14-24 years) who attend Plan B’s educational programmes are disengaged from mainstream education and, through a combination of vocational skills training, (e.g., carpentry and boat building) along with on the water activities (e.g., coastal rowing, sailing and paddle sports) receive valuable educational and employability benefits to help them connect to a brighter future. Plan B facilitates work experience and apprenticeships for students (16+) in marine skills which provides a route into employment in local industry.

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