Adults who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs) are being offered free training in the sport and leisure industry thanks to Active Luton's new LINK initiative.
Participants will be offered a range of courses including first aid, running groups and the chance to learn how to become lifeguards and swimming teachers.
These opportunities, which will be rolled out in 11 areas across the Bedfordshire town, will lead to nationally-recognised qualifications and jobs further down the line.
Active Luton has already connected with a range of organisations who work to improve the quality of life for people in Luton and the team is keen to raise awareness still further, particularly among women and adults aged 50 and over.
Carol Trower, Workforce Development Manager at Active Luton and Lead Manager on the Link Programme, outlined the project, saying: “Our aim through LINK is to provide a supported pathway to employability and volunteering opportunities in the Luton community, by addressing specific barriers to employment.
“Factors in people’s backgrounds or personal circumstances can present extra challenges that may have disconnected them from work or social opportunities.
“These could be a variety of things such as a lack of qualifications, age, disability, physical and mental health issues, language or cultural barriers and more.
“By providing support, the Active Luton team hopes to raise personal confidence, expectations and ambitions, with a range of accredited and non-accredited qualifications.
“We want to increase an individual’s chance of finding a job or getting more involved socially with the community.”
The project has already helped a number of people into employment, including Hana Sladka, who is now working full-time as a pool lifeguard after a 10-week swimming course.
She said: “When I started the course I hoped that I would get a job as a lifeguard at the end. While I was taking the course, I was offered the opportunity to take the Swimming Teacher Assistant qualification too and I thought, why not!
“It’s a really nice role. Longer term I would like to qualify as a gym instructor or personal trainer.”
Luton residents can find out more about the project and the qualification criteria here.