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A self-made businessman has announced a new training school for Islington’s out-of-work young people – and challenged them to sign up and prove they can handle hard graft.

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Kevin McLoughlin’s company, K&M McLoughlin Decorating, in Essex Road, Islington, will spearhead a programme dedicated to getting 16 to 19-year-olds ready for work on a building site.

The firm was given planning permission on Monday to transform a vacant warehouse in Brewery Road, Holloway, into a painting and decorating workshop, where young people will be put through five weeks of intensive training.

But Mr McLoughlin warned it won’t be easy, saying: “This will be a controlled environment with building site rules. What we have designed is a very hard programme and we expect a high level of dropouts.

“These young people will have to get out of bed in the morning and be working by 8am, and they’re not going to stop until 5pm.

“We fully expect half of them to drop out because we don’t think they can handle it – but that’s the challenge.”

Although he now heads up a multi-million pound business, Mr McLoughlin, 55, left school at 15 with no qualifications, after attending the former Saint William of York Secondary School in Gifford Street, Islington.

He credits his success to the four-year apprenticeship he did as a teenager – and hopes the trainees will follow in his footsteps.

“This is a groundbreaking programme,” he said. “We have our own apprenticeships, but we can’t employ everyone.

“So we’re teaming up with three of the biggest paint manufacturers with contacts across the industry, and they will help get those who complete the course into apprenticeships.”

Islington residents will make up 75 per cent of those at the training school. It is supported by Islington Council, which is providing the premises, and City and Islington College.

n The first course is due to start in October. Anyone who is interested should contact Antonia Steele of K&M on training@kmdecorating.co.uk or 020 7288 8710.

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