A construction academy which has helped 37 young people into employment has won the backing of its local MP.
The mock facility in Peterlee features a forklift truck training area and a replica building site where students can hone their skills.
It was designed and built by Profound Services, at its Palmer Road site in Peterlee, and has already seen 57 students complete the construction course.
Of those, 37 found apprenticeships or jobs afterwards,
The statistics were revealed as the purpose-built facility, which simulates a construction site environment, was officially opened by Easington MP Grahame Morris.
He was given a tour with Profound staff and learners, who showed their bricklaying, paving, and brickwork corner skills.
It’s really important that our young people have access to services like this to get the skills they need to help them into employmentGrahame Morris
Mr Morris described the site as “a tremendous facility and the figures of those succeeding after using it are testament to its quality.
“It’s really important that our young people have access to services like this to get the skills they need to help them into employment.”
The participants, all aged 16 to 18, use the site as part of a 14-week traineeship programme. It has a focus on construction, work skills, and health and safety.
Managing director of Profound Services, Steven Ward, said: “We have huge aspirations for this traineeship programme because there’s a huge skills shortage in this industry, and we are looking to fill that void.
“We have ambitions to build it nationally as well as locally.”
Judith Allen, Profound’s head of quality compliance and HR, said the traineeship was ideal for those not quite ready for an apprenticeship.
Learner Jordan Pigford, 17, from Horden, finished school at Easington Academy, and then took up a construction traineeship with Profound. He said: “I have enjoyed both parts of the course, the learning and the practical side and I think this will stand me in good stead for my future.”
As well as the hands-on training, learners are also taught skills which include writing CVs and cover letters, asbestos awareness, and working at height.
They get careers advice, on-site work placements, protective equipment, and some may be eligible for a weekly travel allowance.