WORKS4U is a specialist college with Special Post-16 Institute (SPI) status, offering an alternative to mainstream education.
Rated good by Ofsted, it works to promote a safe and nurturing learning environment for young people between the ages of 14 and 25 and provide one-to-one support in developing their academic, social and independent living skills.
It supports young people who find accessing a mainstream school or college environment too much and require different levels of care.
At Works4U, which is based at the Peacock Centre on Stalybridge’s Ridge Hill Estate, they understand the circumstances of each learner is different but under the right guidance, they believe that all young people can flourish.
As a centre, it prides itself on being adaptable and helping learners to succeed regardless of the difficulties they face. When a young person is referred to Works4U, a comprehensive basic needs and skills assessment is carried out to identify their individual requirements, with a timetabled programme formulated in accordance with their personal needs and interests.
The highly skilled staff work with every learner to provide a specialist environment that will promote each young person’s personal and academic development.
Works4U, which also has a farm in Stalybridge and Bower Fold Events, a hospitality offshoot at the football club, was founded 25 years ago by Norman Mackie as a provider of adult NVQ programmes in the care sector and various other fields.
But a decade ago there was a switch from adults to working with young people with barriers.
Wendy Mackie, Works4U’s CEO, alongside her father Norman have a history of foster care and Wendy has worked with children in care homes for over 30 years.
The provision is available for young people aged 14-24 who may struggle in mainstream education.
The company has continually evolved and in recent years registered and was accredited by the Department of Education as a specialist college, one of only a handful in the North West which makes it prestigious.
Last year the specialist college, which is funded through the DoE, educated 70 young people while it has 22 staff, including tutors, support and office staff.
Some of the students have complex needed which require one-to-one tuition.
Work4U helps students into further education and apprenticeships. This year two have taken up university placement, further positive successes and some into paid employment.
Looking ahead, Works4U is keen to build up its portfolio of businesses with the aim that every youngster should have a work placement.
They have already had them in care homes, motorbike shop, dog groomers, sandwich and flower shops.
The Peacock Centre is very much at the heart of the community in Ridge Hill through its café which is open Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 4pm and 9am to 1pm on Friday.
Works4U supports charities including a project for the homeless, has carried out repair work at Millbrook Dam while also raising money for Children in Need and Macmillan Cancer through their annual coffee morning.
There was a recent Halloween event and a Christmas fair is to be held on Saturday, December 14.