HUNDREDS of Furness people were given a helping hand into the world of work from courses and qualifications offered by a specialist training provider. Rathbone Training emerged in Barrow and Ulverston as a leading training and education supplier for young people with its own training centre and offering work-based training for apprentices and trainees. The national organisation was created in 1969 and was based on the principals of the Rathbone Society, founded by educationalist Elfrida Rathbone - who lived from 1871 to 1940. The Mail, on Tuesday January 11 in 2000, said: “Rathbone CI is Enterprise Cumbria’s biggest training provider in Barrow for young people aged 16 to 18. “Through the wide variety of occupational routes offered by Rathbone many young people have gained the skills they need to make them more employable throughout their lives. “In a recent Training Standards Council inspection Rathbone CI’s provision was hailed as excellent. “Many strengths were highlighted, including the recognition of the strong commitment of staff to their trainees and excellent links with employers.” In January 2001 Rathbone had a new training centre at Phoenix Court, Barrow, for NVQ courses in construction skills. The Mail, on January 25, noted: “More than than 75 trainees, from the age of 16 upwards are presently within the scheme. “Many have benefited from placements on construction projects throughout the borough. These placements include renovation work at St Patrick’s Church on Barrow Island, St Mary’s on Walney and the Salvation Army Citadel in Abbey Road.” Other practical projects included rubbing down and painting the railings at Barrow Park and work at Roose Community Centre.

In May 2000 a group of Rathbone Students on a life skills programme were pictured in Coronation Gardens, Barrow, before taking part in a sponsored walk to the top of the Hoad at Ulverston to raise money for animal care at the South Lakes Wild Animal Park at Dalton.