David is picturing a brighter future

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SUNDERLAND graduate David Byrne is forging a new career online.

Technical whizz David, 22, has been appointed photographer and website developer with a community organisation that helps vulnerable women gain skills and become independent, thanks to the Future Jobs Fund (FJF).

Lydia’s House specialises in antique furniture and textiles and David has been appointed alongside fellow graduate Julia Ho after a six-month FJF trial.

Despite gaining university degrees, both were unemployed for some time before being given the opportunity to obtain new skills and qualifications at the not-for-profit company in Newcastle.

David, 22, has been appointed photographer and website developer, while Julia, a business studies graduate, has been given the key role of fund-raiser.

Lydia’s House was launched by chief executive Catherine Trillo in 2007 and thrived until the recession, when Catherine was forced to re-evaluate the business in order to survive.

That led her to the Tyne and Wear City Region Employment and Skills Partnership’s Future Jobs Fund programme, delivered by Newcastle City Council and Newcastle Futures, which funded David and Julia’s placements at Lydia’s House.

“We went through a very difficult time when the recession hit and I was forced to scale back. I could have decided to fold the business at that point, but I moved premises to Dean Street and was able to take on David and Julia through the Future Jobs Fund,” she said.

“With their help, three other new paid members of staff and the great team of volunteers we have, Lydia’s House is strong again. Both David and Julia have been great and they each brought different skills to the business.

“I was very impressed by them and didn’t want to let them go, so have given them full-time six-month contracts. I am fairly certain they will be made permanent though, because they have been wonderful.”

David said his job at Lydia’s House had changed his outlook on life. The fine arts graduate said: “I haven’t looked back since I started working here. The job is very varied and I have learned so much about photography and web design.

“I think I have grown in confidence, too,”

The FJF was set up to create temporary jobs across Tyne and Wear, helping young jobseekers gain experience and skills.