Online learning provider, Virtual College, is helping CatZero, the Hull-based charity, to equip young people with the skills, belief and attitudes to help them move on in the world.

CatZero is a unique, not-for-profit organisation which has expert staff delivering projects for young people who have lost their way. The programmes take young people outside their comfort zone to complete a number of tasks.

These include training sessions, introduction to employment and education opportunities, links to local community groups and lead to a sailing challenge on board a 72ft challenge-racing yacht as a full crew member.

This enables each young person to demonstrate their ability to work alongside local business and community leaders as equals and has helped transform the lives and life chances of hundreds of young people.

Abby Dacres, General Manager of Virtual College’s Safeguarding e-Academy, who joined the crew for a recent voyage, commented:” I saw a group of people try their hardest and swell with pride when they realised they could do what they never dreamed possible – from pulling down a sail in high winds to cooking for 15 when the boat was heeling over so far you could see the waves through the kitchen skylight!

“They left with a new found hope that anything was achievable and a real determination to make some changes to get them back into work and away from all the things that were holding them back.”

Virtual College has donated £500 to CatZero to support this work plus 50 online courses to help improve the employability prospects of these young unemployed people from Humberside.

Working in conjunction with Local Safeguarding Boards, the statutory agencies responsible for child protection at the local level, Virtual College has developed over 40 online safeguarding and child protection courses used by individuals, charities, schools, hospitals, private businesses, the police and local government.

Since 2008 Virtual College has given over £250,000 pounds to children’s and young people’s charity’s right across the UK.