Using tech to spot mammals

by ANTONY CLAY

Picture by Paul Bunyard

MAMMALS are often overlooked in our countryside.

They are often secretive, low in numbers or perhaps only come out at night.

But car users are being asked to keep an eye out for our furry friends during car journeys as part of a major national survey of Britain’s mammals.

Sadly, many of us will only see a mammal when it is dead by the side of the road -!q particularly a badger or a fox – but the data gleaned by the project will help determine how well, or how badly, different species are doing.

Wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is calling on volunteers across Britain to record sightings of mammals, dead or alive, as part in its annual Mammals on Roads survey.

The charity is urging families going on summer holidays or day trips, car-sharing commuters and anyone else using Britain’s roads, to record sightings of mammals and submit the records via the free Mammals on Roads app.

The app is available on both Apple and Android smartphones via Google Play and the App Store.

The information collected will help conservationists to see changing population trends and identify where conservation action is needed most and for which species.

With clear audio descriptions of each mammal, colourful illustrations and easy-to-use navigation, the Mammals on Roads app is straightforward to use.

It can be set running at the start of a journey and each sighting can be recorded with a few clicks, though this should only be done by passengers for safety reasons.

The wild mammals that people are most likely to spot from their vehicle include hedgehogs, badgers, rabbits, foxes and deer, but there are dozens of other mammals in Britain too, such as mice, voles, stoats, weasels, otters, squirrels and even feral cats or pine martens.

The data collected via PTES’ Mammals on Roads survey will also help inform where new road signs aimed at protecting mammals on highways should be placed.

The new mammal road sign, featuring a hedgehog, to warn drivers about the presence of mammals near carriageways, was launched recently by the Department for Transport.

They will soon be on the side of Britain’s roads and will remind road users to keep an eye out for small wild mammals, in order to lessen the number of collisions involving animals each year.

David Wembridge, mammal surveys co-ordinator for PTES, said: “Mammals on Roads began over 18 years ago, and though no-one likes seeing roadkill, recording such sightings every year tells us how wild mammals are faring in the surrounding landscape.

“For example, thanks to the many volunteers who have submitted records over the last two decades we found out that hedgehog numbers are plummeting. Now, we’re doing everything we can to help this species, but we wouldn’t have known they were in trouble without volunteers helping us.

“Taking part in Mammals on Roads can really make a huge difference and helps ongoing conservation efforts by building a countrywide picture of how mammal numbers are changing.

“Helping mammals couldn’t be easier, so we hope our regular recorders and lots of new ones will take part this year.”

Apart from helping mammals, the new road signs should reduce the number of people injured every year in collisions involving animals in the road.

In 2017, Department for Transport figures show that a staggering 629 people were injured in accidents involving an animal in the road (excluding horses) – and four people were killed.

Between 2005 and 2017, 100 people were killed, with a further 14,173 injured in accidents where an animal was in the road.

Former Transport Secretary Chris Grayling unveiled the new mammals traffic sign in June and called on local authorities and animal welfare groups to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign should be located.

Mr Grayling said at the time: “We have some of the safest roads in the world but we are always looking at how we can make them safer. Motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users are particularly at risk.

“The new small mammal warning sign should help to reduce the number of people killed and injured, as well as helping our precious small wild mammal population to flourish.”

Tony Campbell, chief executive of the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), said: “Powered two-wheelers provide a great solution to road congestion, but like all road users, riders must be aware of those around them.

“Therefore the MCIA is pleased to welcome these new signs that will help everyone, including those on two wheels or four legs, complete their journeys more safely.”

The small wildlife sign complements other warning signs already used on UK roads, filling a gap between warnings about smaller animals such as migratory toads and wildfowl, and large animals such as deer and livestock.

Jill Nelson, CEO at PTES, said: “At PTES roadkill has long been a concern, which is why we launched our Mammals on Roads survey.

“We have also joined forces with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society to deliver the Hedgehog Street campaign.

“We welcome this focus on road safety and protection for all small mammals.

“These signs will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.”

To take part download the free Mammals on Roads app, and you can also see and post updates on social media using #MammalsOnRoads

‘All we have are memories’

REVIEW by PHILIP JAMES of Tickhill Music Society

Ugnius Pauliukonis

WE welcomed several newcomers to Tickhill Music Society’s piano recital by the Lithuanian, Ugnius Pauliukonis – and what a treat we were all in for!

Performing since being six years young, he filmed this performance as part of working towards his International Artist Diploma.

A lengthy pause before he started the first piece, well-articulated Haydn, heightened expectations. Before continuing with the more romantic repertoire of Chopin, Debussy and Dvarionas, he informed us of his theme for the first half: water. As if we hadn’t seen enough of the wet stuff lately!

The Haydn coda was based on water; Chopin’s Etude is known as “waterfall” (descending chords of the right hand over the river’s arpeggios of the left); Debussy’s Reflections in the Water (ending on both banks at the furthest stretches of the keyboard); the Lithuanian composer’s The First Snowflakes perhaps stretching the point a little but worthy for the sheer virtuosity required.

So were we looking forward to the second half? Well, it was all Chopin – but proved to be delightfully varied. Ugnius introduced us to the dance motif, starting with a Ballade of gentle lilt – though with great dynamics to come.

Ugnius explained that while Mazurkas are Polish folk dances, they are really leaves from Chopin’s past and, as he claimed: “all we have are memories”.

Four Mazurkas followed with a real spring in their step.

Introducing the Etudes, Ugnius kindly explained that no.5 was nicknamed “wrong note” so we were prepared, this time the left hand taking the melody and the right expansive arpeggios, reversing “waterfall”. He invited us to try the octaves in both hands demanded by no.10! We are not all blessed with Rachmaninov’s hands, unlike this remarkable pianist.

Finally the Scherzo, “like a summary of the second half” and an apt conclusion to this exceptional recital as Ugnius gazed towards the heavens, transporting us all to a place where indeed memories are made.

Get your copy now!

THE October edition of Chase is now available.

There is a lot in this month’s edition ranging from cute animals to fast cars, ancient stone art to the glittering world of showbiz.

Our ever popular lifestyle features give you handy hints on home decor, gardening and the very latest in fashion.

As usual we take a look at the latest news from the motoring world and give helpful hints on keeping safe on the roads this winter.

We take a look at the growing trend of people choosing their pets from animal rescue centres which can offer a cat, dog or other furry beast a second chance at a loving home.

This ties in with the start of a new monthly feature written by Thornberry Animal Sanctuary where we introduce you to animals searching for someone to take them on.

To tax your brain, there is our ever-challenging quiz page and you can enjoy a bit of culture with a feature on the colourful artwork of Wendy Early.

Eating healthily never seemed so tasty thanks to a feature by top nutritionist Lily Soutter.

And you can take a trip to the glorious German city of Munich to discover its many delights.

As always, we would like you to get in touch with your suggestions and responses. You can email me at antony.clay@rotherhamadvertiser.co.uk.

As well as Chase being free inside the first edition of the Rotherham Advertiser every month, you can also find copies stocked in pubs, restaurants, shops, beauty salons and various other outlets.

You can read past features and original articles on the Chase website at https://wordpress.com/view/chasemagsy.wordpress.com.

Meet the new man in an ancient role

by ANDREW MOSLEY

High Sheriff of South Yorkshire John Pickering with his wife Julie

HANDS up who ever thought that one day they might like to become the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire?

That’s probably no-one because it is not a position many people know about, but it’s a great title and it’s one that 63-year-old John Pickering has just taken.

John and wife of 38 years Julie, who live in Baslow in Derbyshire, have just begun a year they hope will see the position become better known and in a stronger place to help communities across the county.

Originally from Rotherham, John concedes that most people have no idea what the High Sheriff — appointed by the Queen — is or does. “I don’t think there’s a great public knowledge of the role and what it means, and the same may be true of the title of Lord Lieutenant. They are completely separate but there is a huge overlap in terms of our activity,” he says.

John attended Oakwood Comprehensive and then the town’s sixth form college before moving away to university and returning to work at Irwin Mitchell solicitors, where he became a partner and helped them grow from a local business to a top 20 firm, heading up the personal injury practice before being elected national managing partner in 2009.

He became group chief executive in 2011 before retiring five years ago and says the High Sheriff role, for which there is no financial support, came completely out of the blue.

“I was contacted and we talked it through and decided to do it. There is quite a long lead in period and I was supposed to be coming in in 2020, but another person dropped out and I have taken on the role a year earlier.”

The role of Yorkshire High Sheriff can be traced back to the Domesday Book of 1066 and some records go back to Saxon times. “After the monarchy it is the oldest secular office and the name of sheriff derives from the shire reeves. The Sheriff’s job originally was to collect local taxes for the king and look after the judges, meet them at the county borders and make sure they were safe, raise a posse to go after criminals etc. There are many interesting stories of past high sheriffs; one got into gambling debts with King John, which was not a wise thing to do, and, much more recently, it was the high sheriff who issued a writ for the arrest of the environmental campaigner Swampy back in the late 1990s.

“There was a lot of power but for various reasons those powers were moderated and it is now a titular role but duties involve working with the judges and looking after any particular high court judges who are visiting the circuit and entertaining them.

“There is also an obligation to work with and promote the other civic offices such as the police, fire service and prisons and, importantly, to take an interest in the local community.

“There are still a lot of ceremonial duties and the high sheriff will support the lord lieutenants on any royal visits,” says John, who is also a trustee of the South Yorkshire Community Foundation — which connects with the role’s support of charities.

“Last year’s high sheriff Barry Eldred concentrated on homelessness and our interest is in the healthcare field. We have been talking to the Sheffield Hospitals Charity as well as the police and crime commissioner and listening to their concerns about dementia and knife crime. There are huge demands on resources which they have to manage as best they can for the community.”

John and Julie, 62,who has worked in fundraising and event organisation for charities, have found their diaries quickly filling up and one of their favourite moments so far was attending a fire brigade graduation day, which gave them more of an appreciation of the work the service carries out. “I have always had great admiration for the fire service because I was at King’s Cross in 1987 when the fire broke out and remember the fire service there going straight in and helping to save lives. Such bravery. There’s such a lot goes into the make-up of a firefighter,” John says.

The only advice the couple, who have two children, were given on starting their — and John describes it as a team role — job was: “Do it your way.”

“Some parts are set in stone, but beyond that you go out and meet people and respond to invitations. We were surprised at the amount of invitations coming through as you don’t really think people know about the role.

“It is very hard to define what impact you might have in a year, but I want to make a positive contribution and hopefully set in train a number of things that have a positive effect on the community, the police, health service and others at a time when they have lost significant resources,” he adds.

High Sheriff factfile:

  • The High Sheriff of South Yorkshire is a current High Sheriff title which has existed since 1974
  • For around 1,000 years the entire area of Yorkshire was covered by a single High Sheriff of Yorkshire
  • After the Local Government Act 1972 the title was split to cover several newly created counties, including South Yorkshire
  • There are 55 High Sheriffs serving the counties of England and Wales each year
  • Of the 63 clauses in the Magna Carta of 1215, no less than 27 related to the role of the Sheriff and from 1254 the High Sheriff supervised the election to Parliament of two Knights of the Shire
  • By Acts of 1856 and 1865 all of the Sheriffs’ powers concerning police and prisons passed to the prison commissioners and local constabulary
  • The ceremonial uniform that is worn by male High Sheriffs is called Court Dress and consists of a black or dark blue velvet coat with cut-steel buttons, breeches, shoes with cut-steel buckles, a sword and a cocked hat. A lace jabot or white bow tie is worn around the neck.

You don’t need a degree to be a success

by ANTONY CLAY

MANY young people will have received their A-level results a few weeks ago.

Some will have attained what they need to get into university whereas others may have gained places on apprenticeships or been offered employment.

Others may be wondering what to do next, and it is a difficult time which can be traumatic.

But rest assured that there are plenty of opportunities for those either not wanting to take the degree option, or those who can’t for whatever reason.

Nowadays, what with uni tuition fees and a reluctance to commit to further education when a job seems a better option, there are careers which pay well for non-degree holders.

Indeed, according to teen magazine Future-Mag, more than half — 54 per cent — of graduates say they would think again about choosing university as the best way to find a job.

They don’t fancy another three years of study, cannot face the debt, or don’t think they would get the entrance grades.

Indeed, with so many young people getting degrees these days, the idea they will all walk into well-paid jobs and glittering careers is something of a myth.

But there are plenty of new routes into careers that were once the preserve of graduates.

Many of these new opportunities are thanks to a rise in apprenticeships since government and business invested more in professional training.

Now three in four UK businesses believe more young people will choose these earn-as-you-learn routes in the next five years, according to research.

Here, we look at 11 top jobs that don’t require a degree:

1 Air Traffic Controller
What do they do?
24 hours a day, they help to keep some of the busiest airspace in the world moving. The work is challenging and demanding, but it’s immensely rewarding too. Air traffic controllers give information and advice to airline pilots to help them take off and land safely and on time.
Getting there –
You have to be over 18 and have at least five GCSEs or equivalent at Grade 4 or above (previously A-C) or Scottish Nationals 5 Grade A-C or equivalent, including English and Maths. As well as having a good level of physical and mental fitness, you must satisfy the basic medical requirements set down by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The National Air Traffic Control Service (NATS) has developed a series of games to help gauge whether you are right for this career.
Pay: £17,000 to £50,000

2 Solicitor
What do they do?
TV series Suits has a lot to answer for – never has law looked so sexy. In reality, solicitors advise their clients on the law, and can specialise in a host of areas, including commercial, criminal and family law, and much more.
Getting there –
You can now become a solicitor by training on the job since new solicitor apprenticeships (level 7) which were approved in 2015. This isn’t an easy route – you will need to pass a series of tough exams. You will need good A-levels and it can take five to six years to complete.
Pay £25,000 to £100,000

3 Junior 2D artist – visual effects
What do they do?
They help artists produce all the whizzy visual effects (VFX). They assist senior VFX artists and prepare the elements required for the final shots. Eventually they will be employed by post production companies working on commercials, television series and feature films.
Getting there –
You could do a practical short course at London’s MetFilm School (Ealing Studios) and try to get into the industry that way, or do an apprenticeship via Next Gen
Pay: from £18,000 to £50,000 once qualified

4 Laboratory Technician
What do they do?
Lab technicians work in many areas from forensic to medical science, nuclear and more. They might set up experiments, record data, collect and analyse samples and do all the day-to-day jobs of laboratory work. Attention to detail is critical.
Getting there –
Any relevant science A-levels will help, and you can apply for a two year apprenticeship scheme through relevant employers.
Pay: £15,000 to £30,000 plus

5 Police Officer
What do they do?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a “bee in his bonnet” about the need to recruit 20,000 police officers. If you’ve been considering this as a career, now could be the right time to apply. Police officers keep law and order, investigate crime, and support crime prevention.
Getting there –
There is no formal educational requirement for direct application but you will have to be physically fit and pass written tests. Or, you could start by doing a police constable degree apprenticeship. You will usually need: 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications like A-levels for a degree apprenticeship.
You can get a taste of what it’s like to work with the police by volunteering as a special constable.
You could also get paid work as a police community support officer (PCSO) before applying for police officer training.
Pay: £20,000 to £60,000

6 Environmental conservation officer
What do they do?
Monitor the outdoors, encourage others to enjoy the environments around them, manage wildlife habitats, monitor rivers prone to flooding and coastal areas
Getting there –
Try volunteering and apply for an environmental conservation apprenticeship – Landex has a map of providers.
From £18,000

7 Professional Services
What do they do?
A whole range, from auditing, consulting, financial advisory work, internal client services, to risk advisory and tax consulting. They will work with clients from a variety of industries and will develop valuable business advisory skills – even management consultancy is an option.
Getting there –
Big companies such as Deloitte and PwC offer professional services higher apprenticeships which help A-level students gain a range of professional qualifications.
Pay: £18,000 to £80,000-plus depending on specialism

8 Computer forensic analyst (cyber security)
What do they do?
Investigate and thwart cyber crime. They might work for the police or security services, or for computer security specialists and in house teams. They will follow and analyse electronic data, ultimately to help uncover cyber crime such as commercial espionage, theft, fraud or terrorism.
Getting there –
Cyber security professionals are in high demand in both the public and private sector in the wake of high level breaches and perceived terrorism threats. And there is a severe shortage of qualified professionals. Cyber security higher apprenticeships (level 4) are offered by major infrastructure and energy companies and – excitingly – the security services.
Pay: £20,000 to £60,000

9 Nuclear Engineer
What do they do?
Ensure the safe running of nuclear power stations, or development of defence capability. They cover a whole range of tasks linked to nuclear power, from helping design and build new plants to monitoring radiation to planning safe disposal of nuclear waste.
Getting there –
Unsurprisingly through professional training – the National Nuclear Laboratory offers apprenticeships and the Ministry of Defence has a new nuclear undergraduate engineering apprenticeship. More broadly, there is a massive national shortage of engineers and companies are pushing on-the-job training in many sectors.
Pay: £24,000 to £70,000

10 Youth worker
What do they do?
Work with young people and help them develop personally and socially. They might work with local services, youth offending teams or voluntary organisations and community groups. They might help organise sports and other activities, or be involved on counselling and mentoring, or liaising with authorities.
Getting there –
Many enter youth work as a volunteer or paid worker, but you can now qualify via a youth work apprenticeship.
Salary £23,250 to £37,500

11 Royal Navy officer
What do they do?
Undergo leadership training before choosing from a wide range of specialisms, from navigation to submarines, intelligence or mine warfare.
Getting there –
You will typically need 5 GCSEs at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) or above and 2 to 3 A-levels. If you’re an A-level student, you will have to take aptitude and ability tests, pass a fitness test and interview before a more rigorous assessment to see if you are capable mentally and physically.
If successful, you can begin officer training at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.
Pay: from £27,300 to £46,000

*Find out more at https://future-mag.co.uk.

‘I think I have had quite an exciting journey’

by AMY FORDE

Dropped by Adrian Barron, part of the series The Hunt for Apollo.

FOR this month’s art feature I spoke to artist Adrian Barron, who is running a Laser Engraving print workshop at ROAR on September 21 (full details via link at the bottom of the article).

He brings to Rotherham a great portfolio of experience in the art world, and has already been involved with some projects within the local area including a solo exhibition at The Coterie Gallery (May-June 2016), the River Banksy project at Riverside Library, and two workshops at ROAR.

I have always associated printmaking with Adrian, and there is no wonder as to why; he studied at Norwich School of Art where he was awarded the Noel Spencer Prize for Printmaking, later going on to gain a postgraduate degree in Fine Art Printmaking at The Slade School of Art.

He has taught printmaking for many years, most recently at the Working Men’s College in London.

His passion for this practice is apparent when you speak to him, but what was interesting for our conversation was learning more about his other work, and importantly how the two thread together.

After completing his MA, Adrian made a connection which would shape the next decade of his life: “I met this guy who was from Belize, which is where my mum’s from, and I was able to get the Duveen scholarship through Slade to go and study Maya ruins.”

Whilst he was there studying Adrian made another important link as he met a local architect who owned his own farm which had “returned back to nature”.

Cha Cha Cha by Adrian Barron.

From a young age it was clear that Adrian had a connection with nature. In fact “connection” doesn’t seem to do it justice. He tells me he spent his childhood “drawing animals and insects from books” and finding his own patches of land to garden on in the wasteland.

The meeting in Belize led to Adrian living in the country for ten years, working as a co-ordinator on a sculpture park. Adrian explains “it fulfilled my dreams of being in nature”, as he lived without electricity or running water and was surrounded by insects and birds.

Part of this work was creating what he described as “a cathedral made of trees”, a collaborative project which he worked on with a fellow co-ordinator and the local people. The Cathedral was made up of 15 different types of tree, with over 200 planted. It started with a lot of research, looking at popular rain forest trees, analysing how they grew and then mapping out where they should be planted on the plan. The cathedral was the same size as Westminster Abbey and although never seeing it in the flesh, Adrian does tell me he has seen many photographs of the piece as it has grown. He says “the time to really see it will be in 250 years’ time”.

Alongside this Belizean heritage, his father was British and described himself as a “Wear Valley man”. He also took occupation in the Army which meant that Adrian moved around a lot as a child. These factors impacted on his sense of identity which was something he explored once he was in the art world: “As an artist you are meant to be working with things which revolve around you and I realise that begged the question am I British? Am I a coloniser, colonised or a slave?”

I wonder then how this work connects with printmaking and he explains: “Nature throws up multiples without symmetry, there is a sort of asymmetry to it.”

Adrian goes on to say that as humans what we try and do is create order and symmetry, but built into printmaking is the process of multiples: “In historic terms Chinese print actually builds into it nature and that idea of asymmetry; you may have a print of irises but there is no order to the irises.”

This South Eastern Asian tradition, which is also seen in Japanese printmaking, contrasts the British idea of wanting to create a structure so a pattern can be easily repeated. He explains that this is where the search for his identity comes into it again: “Although I feel very British 99 per cent of the time, I think that’s why I collect South East Asian prints and study Maya ruins, that search for that alternative viewpoint I get.”

Depicting Mimetic Rivalry by Adrian Barron.

As an established artist, although Adrian humbly rejects this term, I wonder what has changed in his outlook on his art now: “I think I have got less worried about what people think now (…) When you’re in your 20s you’re hoping for success because all you want to do is make the artwork. So you know the success will give you the ability to carry on making work.”

Adrian has always gone his own way, something he thinks has been very beneficial to his practice: “People who I know who made it when they were 25 when they came out of their MA, I don’t know if they’re ever happy because their work never changes after that point. It becomes craft.” He elaborates: “I think I have had quite an exciting journey. I’ve made prints, I have made formal prints, I’ve made multiples, I have made prints to raise money to make sculptures, I have made sculptures, I have travelled a lot for my art, an exciting thing in its own right. I have seen things many people will never see.”

His most recent creative endeavour has been filming, recently showcasing a piece to positive reviews in London. His attitude towards creating work he neatly summarises: “It’s in me to make things so I do.”

As a member of ROAR Adrian has enjoyed working in the town: “I wanted to give something to Rotherham. It’s a place which I feel has been neglected and I feel I am giving to a worthy cause. It’s got so much potential and people forget it.”

After travelling all his life and struggling with his sense of place, he has recently made South Yorkshire his home, making permanent roots in Rotherham’s twin Sheffield. I get a sense this firmly marks an ending and a beginning, and definitely the start of another important phase in his artistic journey. After all Sheffield is the City of Sanctuary.

You can come to Adrian’s Laser Engraving workshop at ROAR on September 21 from 10am to 4pm. Buy you tickets via eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/laser-engraving-workshop-with-adrian-barron-tickets-67035816933?aff=ebdshpsearchautocomplete or via the office at team@rotherhamroar.org or 01709 835747.

Taking the teaching to the people

by ANTONY CLAY

Mexborough Resource Centre. 191142-10

A TRAINING company is offering people on benefit in a Dearne Valley town the chance to acquire vital job skills in their own community.

Instead of having to travel to nearby Doncaster to get their training, course users can do their learning in Mexborough.

This saves them having to travel to an unfamiliar location which could be intimidating for some.

Free2learn has been running courses to train people for work in the security industry at Mexborough Resource Centre on Dolcliffe Road.

Since February, the six week courses have given men and women the skills needed to find jobs in roles such as event stewards, CCTV monitoring and personal protection work.

The course, run by Free2learn which has its Yorkshire HQ in Doncaster, has proved popular with its students, referred to it by Mexborough Jobcentre Plus.

The course also fits in with the resource centre boss Peter Newman’s aim to make the venue, and the nearby Mexborough Business Centre, sites for free work training to directly help local people.

Lee Carton, business development manager at Free2Learn, said: “We deliver courses in big towns but these sort of areas get overlooked. It can be intimidating for people to go to a course with people they don’t know.”

Lee said that Mexborough Jobcentre Plus, based on Adwick Road in the town, had been very supportive.

The security course offers four weeks of pre-employment training followed by two weeks for security education.

After it, people can apply for the obligatory Security Industry Authority licence which allows people to work in the sector. Free2learn pay for the licence so course attendees don’t have to fork out themselves.

Course participants. 191142-5

Employers from the security sector attend the courses to talk to participants about the roles available, and even hand out job application forms.

Lee said: “The employers will tell people what jobs are available and leave application forms.

“What we do is that the employer comes in and has a chat about its needs and we build a rapport with the employer.

“We have had quite a lot of success really.”

Free2learn, which has just been offered a large government contract for training ensuring funding for the next year, has seen a 99 per cent pass rate from the course and, nationally, 69 per cent of people on it then moving into employment.

“If people do leave the course it’s often because they have a job,” said Lee.

He said that people have been doing security work whilst on the course because Universal Credit offers them the flexibility to do so.

As well as its base in Doncaster, Free2learn also has offices in Oldham and London and makes a point of offering community-based courses.

Women have signed up to the course. There were three women on a recent course which, said Lee, is welcome because more women are needed to work in the security field, particularly on door security.

“Women calm things down more in the workplace,” said Lee.

Mexborough course tutor Claire Bell. 191142-8

“We really are trying to push women if we can.”

But the course is open to anyone, even people with no experience in the security sector.

“It does not matter if you have not had any work experience.

“We want to say to people that whatever background you come from you can do this course,” said Lee.

“It’s such a diverse sector.

“It’s really taken off.”

Eighteen people attend each security sector course and the age ranges from the late teens to people in their sixties. The course is open to all.

People wanting to attend the course will be initially assessed on their English and Maths skills and if they don’t quite meet the requirements will attend an English/Maths course in Doncaster to attain the equivalent of a GCSE before starting on the security training in Mexborough.

Free2learn is aiming to offer courses at Mexborough in different sectors in the near future to provide more opportunities for work training to local people.

“We are trying to offer a range of things because it’s not just one size fits all,” said Lee.

“We are not just doing our courses in the ivory tower in Doncaster.

“We are local people. If we help people into work it’s only going to improve our community where we live and work.”

Mexborough course tutor Claire Bell said that she has seen people start the course with a shy and reserved manner and finish it with much more confidence.

She said: “The big fear for a lot of them is coming back into the classroom.

“It just gives them that confidence by working well on the course.

“It’s seeing what we can do. They don’t believe in themselves but once they get a job it all changes.”

Claire said that people with issues such as autism or dyslexia can attend the course as any special provision needed can be put in place to help them.

One course participant, Katrina, gave it her seal of approval.

“It was really welcoming and easy to get started on,” she said.

“There is a good variety of learning.”

Another attendee said: “I have found it interesting. I have done security courses before and done all types of security work before. I enjoyed the course.

“If people are concerned about signing up for it, I would say don’t worry about it.

“I would say it’s a good course.”

Tony Sheppeck, managing director of 1st Security Solutions, based in Doncaster, has visited the course to talk to students and offer jobs.

He said that there were many opportunities in the security sector.

He added: “The good thing about event security is that you get paid to attend a great event.”

Peter Newman, boss of the Mexborough Resource Centre, said that he was pleased to see the course at his site.

“I want to make it into a training centre and for community groups,” he said.

“Everyone who takes part in the course is unemployed and you can see it happening: people gaining confidence

“It’s about the local community.”