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Azure Skills Builder

Azure offer their Skills Builder Programme as part of the Government study programme for 16-24 year olds and is funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).  This programme offers qualifications and hands on experience to young people in a work-based learning environment.

Eligibility – Who is it for?

The Skills Builder Programme at Azure is aimed at learners aged 16- 24 years living in Northumberland with disabilities or additional support needs.   Its aim is to help prepare young people for employment or the next step on their journey to employment.
Potential learners should be aged:

About the programme – What can we offer?

The programme is an average of 40 weeks.  It can include Horticulture or Health and Social Care, Employability skills, Personal development, Work placement, ICT, English and maths.  The programme and support are tailored to meet individual needs and are reviewed on a monthly basis.  This is all delivered in small groups with high staff ratio.

Horticulture - Learners can work towards a Level 1 Award, Certificate or Diploma in Practical Horticulture Skills. This covers all areas of horticulture including: Seed sowing, establishing plants and harvesting, Plant identification, Pruning, Soil PH, Block Paving, Tool maintenance and maintaining wood structures.

Employability Skills - Includes interview skills, application forms, job search techniques and CV building.

Health & Social Care – Learners can work towards a Certificate Level 1, Skills for Working in Health & Social Care (Adult).  This programme covers Safeguarding, effective communication, person centred working, infection control, fluids and nutrition, food hygiene and wheelchair awareness as well as the topics listed above in Employability Skills.

Personal Development - This can cover a wide range of areas and is tailored to each individual’s needs.  Some of the units available include: Managing personal finance, Team working, Customer Service, Healthy living, Environmental awareness, Food preparation and basic cooking.

Work Placements - Learners will be given the opportunity to undertake supported work placements in one of Azures businesses such as the Nurseries or Garden Centre.

English, maths and ICT - these functional skills are included in every learner’s programme and each learner is given support to improve their skills. Activities take place in a group and individual setting and may lead to a relevant City and Guilds qualification.

Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) – Learners will take part in IAG group and individual sessions.  These sessions are intended to offer impartial advice and guidance about a way forward on completion of Azure Skills Builder programme.

Enquiring and Referring - How can I apply to the programme?

Learners can refer themselves or can go through their school, care management or Employability and Skills Team.  All eligible enquirers will be given an interview with a visit to have a look around.  If interested potential learners will be offered the opportunity to attend taster day(s).

Enrolling - What will happen if I join the programme?

Learners joining the Skills builder programme will attend the centre 4 days a week.  Hours are 9.30am-3.15pm Mon/Tues/Thurs and 9.30am-2.00pm Fri.  Learners request holidays from their entitlement.  Entitlement builds up and is 2 days holiday for every month of full attendance.  Learners receive support with travel costs, qualification costs are fully covered and lunches/refreshments are provided.  Any equipment and PPE are supplied where needed.  See Bursary Funding below.

Bursary Funding:

The 16-19 Bursary Fund provides financial help for young people aged 16 to 19 who face barriers to staying in education.  It is available to all 16-19 year olds (or those 19-24 with an EHCP) studying in school/academy sixth forms, colleges and training providers in England.  There are two types of bursary available:

As a training provider we can tell you more.  You can ask us to assess your needs to see if you are eligible.

Progression – What can I do after Azure?

We will work very closely with learners and their families/support network to find a suitable progression after the Skills Builder programme.  For example this could be college, employment or further training.

Other Options

This programme is also available to learners who require specific aspects of a course or require Personal Development and Social Skills but do not wish to participate in the full programme. This can be accommodated on a day-to-day basis at an agreed cost per day. 

Where do I go from here?

If you are interested and would like to find out more contact the Skills Builder Team Leader or Deputy Training Manager on 01670 733966.

Azure Skills Builder study programme is part of Northumberland County Council’s Local Offer.  See their website at:

Ofsted (inspection report), June 2014
“Learners develop good personal, social, employability and vocational skills that help them prepare for employment and further learning”

For more information about our Ofsted inspection report, visit their website.

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