A COMMITMENT to helping young people was celebrated at the Skillstree Awards.

Organised by education charity Basingstoke Consortium, the event was hosted by Mayor Councillor Dan Putty at the Civic Offices to thank businesses, schools, colleges and other partners which have invested in projects that support young people's preparation for adult life and work.

The evening was compéred by BBC South Today presenter David Allard, who was joined by Skillstree sponsors to present the awards.

The event also celebrated the second year of the Skillstree initiative, which aims to work with businesses to increase the employability skills, aspirations and confidence of young people in the borough, and which has supported 1,400 local young people.

Delighted to back the Skillstree project, Cllr Putty said: “In an increasingly competitive world, it is so important that young people gain access to the world of work and positive role models as early as possible.”

Basingstoke Consortium chief executive Sue Riley said: “The awards were created to showcase the incredible talent of the thousands of individuals who volunteer or work with us every year to help young people learn more about the world of work.

“They also recognise some of the many inspiring young people who are involved in our projects. Our celebratory evening was a wonderful way to mark our achievements this year.”

Among the companies supporting the initiative is Basingstoke-based VISA Europe.

Peter Davison, executive director technical operations, said: “Visa Europe is pleased to support the Skillstree initiative, as it combines three elements which are central to our business – technology leadership, opportunities for young people and community engagement.

“The initiative has helped us to create links with local schools and colleges, and we are proud to extend those links in order to support the community.

“Through our partnership with Basingstoke Consortium we hope to play our part in developing tomorrow’s workforce.”

Other sponsors and supporters include AXA Wealth, The University of Winchester, Vitacress, Basingstoke ITEC and Wote Street Employment Bureau.

To find out more about Skillstree and its four sponsorship levels, platinum, gold, silver and associate member, visit basingstokeconsortium.com/skillstree.php.