In 2004 Stride, a social enterprise based in Leicester, relocated to an old textile warehouse in the centre of the city. It began offering a Basic Construction course which gave young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and with little formal education the opportunity to sample different areas of the building trade, gaining a City and Guilds qualification.
Stride quickly acquired two major training contracts with local organisations and as numbers grew, so training opportunities developed in other areas including motor mechanics, hair and beauty and land based studies. More recently catering and ICT have been added to the vocational programmes on offer. Currently approximately 400 young people, between the ages of 14 and 19, access the provision, many of them disengaged from mainstream education.
As part of its development, Stride believed it would be beneficial to establish working links with the construction trade. In October 2008, contact was made with the David Wilson Foundation and David Wilson himself came to visit the business, meeting with staff and students. He was very interested in all he discovered and the Foundation made a generous donation that helped fund a new construction training facility – ‘The David Wilson Workshop’.
In early 2009 David Wilson accepted the invitation to become the official patron of Stride. As part of Stride’s continuing development, the David Wilson Foundation agreed to fund a new Senior Construction position to help enhance the quality of the construction provision on offer; this will include developing progression pathways for Stride students by offering higher level courses and apprenticeships.
Stride is very much looking forward to developing new and innovative ways to benefit young people who have dropped out of formal education but are searching for their chance to shine in the construction industry.