Ex-Sunderland and Middlesbrough stars launch new initiative to help teenagers into work
Teenagers are being given a helping hand into work as part of a new iniative led by former Sunderland and Middlesbrough stars.
Training company Back2Basics - run by former players including Sunderland legend Gary Bennett - have teamed up with Everyone Active Sports and Leisure, who operate eight sites across the Sunderland area.
The traineeship education programme will aim to help get 14 youngsters aged 16 to 18 into work and or education via the new 12-week programme.
Teenagers will gain experience in a working environment with the opportunity of a job interview, potentially an apprenticeship or at least on to a level 2/3 college programme.
As part of the programme there will also be football coaching sessions led by ex-professionals including former Sunderland skipper Bennett, Julio Arca, Kieron Brady and ex-Middlesbrough defender Dean Gordon.
The Everyone Active sites taking part include Silksworth Sports Centre or ski slope, Raich Carter Sports Centre, Washington Leisure Centre, Bunny Hill Wellness Centre, Hetton Sports Centre and Houghton Sports Centre.
Ex-Sunderland skipper Bennett - who made more than 350 appearances for the club - told the Echo: "We set Back2Basics up to focus on the football coaching but Dean Gordon has ties in education and he said what about us looking to do more with 16-to-18 years-olds - especially those struggling to get into work.
"We have formed a partnership with Everyone Active for a 12-week trainee course in the eight centres in Sunderland.
"The programme will provide the opportunity to improve skills and experience to possibly help gain employment or an apprenticeship.
"This is a fantastic opportunity.
"At that age, they may be thinking are they going into college or university, sometimes they are at a crossroads and hopefully this 12-week course will help get them on the right ladder to making up their mind what they want to do," added Bennett at the launch.
Course tutors will also deliver sessions around Maths, English, business administration and boosting employability skills.
Ian Bradgate, Everyone Active area contract manager for Sunderland, said: "The guys approached us to see if we would be interested in supporting it at our centres.
"We saw it as an no-brainer to get involved with these guys but to also help with recruitment and employment in the city.
"People see leisure as the gym or the pool but there are lots of different options, coaching, membership, front of house.
"It will be guided where they see their career going, predominantly I'd imagine it would be sport related and coaching.
"Then at the end of their scheme hopefully finding recruitment and employment with us."
The Back2Basics programme is delivered in partnership with Everyone Active and SCL Education Group.
The closing date for applications is Friday, August 31 with enrolment due to start Monday, September 10.
There are 14 places available for the 12-week course, which will include 30-hours per week contact time.
* To apply or for more information call 07585 006908 or email [email protected]