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Employment initiative success


Published by Kelly Elliott for Derwentside Homes Ltd in Housing and also in Communities

David Curnick, Brighter Futures Employment Initiatives Officer Michelle Graham and Brighter Futures apprentice Chelsea Borrowdale. David Curnick, Brighter Futures Employment Initiatives Officer Michelle Graham and Brighter Futures apprentice Chelsea Borrowdale.

A project designed to help unemployed people in part of County Durham back into work and training, is celebrating one of its first success stories.

The Brighter Futures scheme is run by housing association Derwentside Homes and provides support with CV writing, interview techniques, training and job searches.

When 28-year-old mechanic David Curnick found himself out of work recently he contacted the project and, thanks to the help he received, has now started a new job at Halfords Autocentre in Durham.

David, of Leadgate, said: “I’d heard about Brighter Futures from friends and family, so when I became unemployed I got in touch to see how they could help. They were brilliant – they helped me tidy up my CV, which was a bit long, and gave me some help with preparing for interviews.

“When they found the job advertised at Halfords, my CV was ready to go and I was offered an interview two days later, which I felt quite confident about attending thanks to the training I’d had.

“I’d definitely recommend the service to other people – finding work is hard but there is support out there and it can make a big difference, as I found out.”

Brighter Futures is supported by East Durham Partnership and funded by North East Procurement through its social regeneration fund Future Sparks.

A sum of £50,000 was awarded to the project by the Future Sparks fund, which allowed the project to hire an Employment Initiatives Officer.

NEP is a consortium of social housing providers who purchase labour or materials for their stock collaboratively through NEP. These housing providers, or ‘members’, not only receive substantial commercial efficiencies in doing this but a proportion of these savings go towards the Future Sparks initiative.

Ian Brimer, Chief Executive of NEP, said: “We are proud to fund this initiative, which brings together existing support for residents, plugs any gaps found and has resulted in a one-stop holistic service.

“The project focuses on the needs of individuals rather than a one-size fits all approach and has the potential to improve the economic landscape in the local area.”

Support from the project, is available to all local residents, not just Derwentside Homes’ tenants, and since launching four months ago more than 50 people have already accessed the service.

The scheme is based at Derwentside Homes’ office at Greengates House, near Stanley, but is designed to be mobile, meaning the services can be offered from a variety of locations in the Derwentside area.

The project is coordinated by Employment Initiatives Officer Michelle Graham and apprentice Chelsea Borrowdale.

Michelle said: “Brighter Futures is all about helping local people back into work and training – the service is client-led so the help we offer depends on what support is needed – it could be anything from brushing up on English and maths to learning new skills such as IT.

“It’s great seeing people like David find work and hopefully his success will encourage even more people to come and visit us and see how we can help them.”

For more information about Brighter Futures, please contact Michelle Graham on 01207 521100.


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