Lowestoft College has partnered with one of the town’s fastest growing companies to launch a pioneering care academy, the first of its kind in the region. Young people, aged 16 to 18, are being invited to interview for a one year course that is being supported by Kingsley Healthcare. The 12 students accepted into the Kingsley Care Academy will begin their course after the October half-term break, mixing classroom study with work experience at local Kingsley-run care homes. Lowestoft College’s care department provides the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and skills that prepare them to work in the care sector, or progress on to apprenticeships or relevant degrees. Rachel Bunn, interim deputy principal, said: “Lowestoft College is excited over the care academy and the opportunities it will bring for local young people. We look forward to working with Kingsley on this project and hope that its success will pave the way for new academies in the future.” Kingsley, which moved into its new head office in Clapham Road South, Lowestoft, in July, is to equip the students with a laptop and academy branded sweatshirts. Company CEO Daya Thayan has also agreed to pay students a £200 bursary and a £500 bonus on graduation; successful graduates will all be guaranteed jobs by Kingsley. Mr Thayan, who started his business in 1999 with one care home in Lowestoft, developing Kingsley into a national brand now employing 1,600 people, said: “We want young people to see care as a worthwhile career, not simply a job. The care industry is as big as any other vibrant industry, like the oil industry, but a constraint until now has been a lack of training facilities and opportunities for youngsters.” He said Kingsley needed fresh young talent to fuel its continued rapid growth across the country. Kingsley’s recruitment manager Beverley Lambert said: “We are proud to have created this exciting opportunity for young people in the town where we started as a company. If they work hard, there will be almost limitless opportunities for them to progress their careers. "Two of our most successful care home managers, twin sisters Helen Gosling and Paula Baker, began working in care as teenage Saturday girls; Lukasz Wawrzenczyk, who joined Kingsley as a domestic worker in 2005 when he arrived from Poland, is now one of our service quality managers.” Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: “The launch of the Kingsley Care Academy is an exciting and welcome initiative. There are a wide variety of interesting job opportunities in the care sector, though in the past not enough has been done to provide people with the necessary training and support. “Kingsley and Lowestoft College, with support from Waveney District Council, are to be congratulated for creating the care academy in a matter of weeks. It will play an important role in providing local people with the skills required to take up local jobs.” The Health and Social Care course is being offered at both level two and level three: there is still time to apply and those interested can find out more by contacting the Student Services team at Lowestoft College on 0800 854 695. Recruitment starts in October, and applicants will be interviewed by Kingsley Health Care.