Giving youngsters a chance of work

Laura Barralcough, Lewis Underwood, Debra Robinson (North East BIC) Matthew Harrison, Gabrielle Ophield and Derek Freeman, (director, Milltech)

Laura Barralcough, Lewis Underwood, Debra Robinson (North East BIC) Matthew Harrison, Gabrielle Ophield and Derek Freeman, (director, Milltech)

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A UNIQUE scheme is matching Wearside’s budding businesses with talented youngsters.

Businesses based at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (Bic) are benefiting from a project which allows them to add a young person to their workforce at no cost for up to 10 weeks, before having the option to take them on as an employee.

The Bic and Sunderland-based independent training organisation Milltech have joined forces to create a scheme which allows young people who are undertaking NVQ courses to complete their qualification by being placed with local firms.

The new system has already led to prospective long-term jobs for four young people who are employed on a trial basis to provide business administration at BIC-based firms.

Lewis Underwood, 19, from High Barnes, Sunderland, has been placed with online furniture firm Variete, Lauren Barraclough, 16, is working with social enterprise company The Pillars of Parenting, Matthew Harrison, 17, from Silksworth, is working for climate control firm 21 Degrees, while 17- year-old Gabrielle Ophield, from Hylton Castle, has been given the opportunity to work within the services, conferencing and events team at the Bic.

Debra Robinson is human resources officer at the North East BIC:

“This scheme presents a wonderful opportunity for both the young people and the firms who take them on,” she said.

“Prior to their placement, they have passed a fairly rigorous process where we confirmed their suitability to play a part within a functioning SME.

“This involves being interviewed by Bic management, before working as an employee of the Bic for up to month where we assist them in adjusting to a functioning office environment

“Interviews are then arranged with appropriate tenants in accordance with the young people’s skill sets and interests.”

Following this process, tenants based at the 14-acre BIC site are able to have the learners working within their organisation for up to 10 weeks, absolutely free of charge.

“After this period it is hoped that the young people will be employed by the firm,” said Debra. “But should this not be the case they will return to the BIC for the remainder of the eight-month period.”

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