Tech start-up Kiistone has launched a new mentoring programme to encourage young people to consider a trade as a career.

The Chorley company has developed an online portal which enables tradespeople and customers work together more effectively and securely.

Working with Accrington and Rossendale College, the Kiistone programme focusses on employability skills and the attributes needed to be successful in the trade.

There is an emphasis on positioning vocational qualifications in further education as just as valuable as academic equivalents, and demonstrating how B-TECS, NVQs and T-Levels can provide just as successful a career path and future, than the more traditional academic A-Level route.

Tim Mullock, founder of Kiistone, uses his first-hand experience to share his experience of how a trade is not only a potentially lucrative career, but to demonstrate how it can also be one of the most rewarding, when approached in the right way.

He said: “Right now there is a skills shortage in this country, and we need more tradespeople. Quite simply, there are not enough young people taking on vocational qualifications, and in many cases those that do take a vocational path, do so because they didn’t get the GCSE’s required to do A-levels.

“The tide needs to turn, and society needs to understand that vocational qualifications are a great opportunity for young people to learn a trade and to understand the other skills that they need to really carve a successful career and, in many cases, to launch their own business.

Morag Davis, centre principal for Accrington and Rossendale College, said: “There is a perception amongst some young people and parents that construction trades are not aspirational careers. The objectives of working with Kiistone is to create education and training that doesn’t just develop excellent practical skills but also supports learners to develop professionalism and customer service, to understand the business and to develop ambitious career plans.

“We want to show our young people the exciting opportunities that exist in construction and we are excited to be working with successful construction employers to bring those experiences to our learners.”