Apprentice scheme puts 60 people back in work

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A SERVICE is celebrating a milestone after helping back 60 people as they find a career.

East Durham Business Service runs the apprentice scheme to get more 16 to 19-year-olds get out of the benefits system and into work, finding young people classed as Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEETS) jobs and apprenticeships.

It has helped the 60 people take on intensive and longer term placements since last May, with 80 per cent of those entering full-time jobs or being given the chance to take up an apprenticeship.

Simon Naisbett, its apprenticeship consultant, said: “Many of them have been on other training courses that really haven’t helped them so I devote time to get to know them, what interests them and their strengths and weaknesses so I can tailor my support in a way which is engaging and will make a real difference to them.

“And it’s working.

“They leave here different people with the confidence and self belief which local employers want and that’s what our apprenticeship programme is all about.”

The scheme delivers two courses, one an intensive six-week programme funded by the European Social Fund and delivered in partnership with Gateshead Council, the second a referral based initiative.

Among those working with Simon is 18-year-old Jordan Scott, from Easington.

He said: “Simon is making a real difference to me as he genuinely wants to help.

“I really want to get a job as a kitchen and bathroom fitter and I know when I complete this course I’ll have a better chance of doing that.”

The majority of those who enrol on the programme are self referrals, while others are put in touch via Durham County Council’s One Point programme.

It can also help give them advice in areas including housing, benefits and behavioural support.