HOMELESS youngsters are being given the chance to gain qualifications and put a roof over their heads.
Asbestos management company Lucion Environmental has teamed up with Springboard Training, Sunderland, as part of the youth homeless charity Centrepoint’s Empty Homes project.
It is offering homeless people the chance to renovate empty properties as they work towards qualifications, with the finished houses to offer rented accommodation for up to 40 people.
Sunderland City Council earmarked 20 empty properties in the area for a revamp, backing its own aim of bringing empty houses back into use.
The firm supplied protective work wear and ran asbestos awareness training to homeless people as well as their staff as it launched the project.
The sessions will work towards the City and Guilds Construction Skills qualification and Centrepoint’s Workwise and Lifewise module.
Half of the funding for the renovation work is through the Department for Communities and Local Government Empty Homes Community Grant Fund, with Centrepoint providing the remainder, with the funds to be recouped through rent.
Lucion will continue to work with Centrepoint on the project until it finishes in 2015.
Stuart Goodman, learning and development manager for Lucion, said: “For many of the young people on this project, this is the first time in years they have been brought back into a classroom environment, and we are delighted to be a part of this learning and development process.
“The training not only prepares the young people for the activities they will be carrying out on renovations, but also adds a great deal to their confidence and skill set, ultimately preparing them for the world of employment once the scheme has come to an end.”