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First class careers advice from newly qualified Michelle

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First class careers advice from newly qualified Michelle


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

A housing association employee who helps local unemployed people access work and training opportunities has become one of the first people in the country to be awarded a brand new careers guidance qualification.

Michelle Graham works as an Employment Initiatives Officer for Derwentside Homes, running the landlord’s Brighter Futures scheme, which provides support such as accessing training courses, CV writing and interview techniques to local job seekers.

She recently became one of the first people to complete the brand new Career Guidance and Development NVQ Level 6 qualification, and is now keen to share what she has learnt to benefit her clients in the region.

Michelle said: “When I heard about the new course I was really keen to undertake the qualification as I knew it would develop my breath of knowledge which in turn would help the people I work with every day.

“I’m sure this qualification will soon become a standard within the sector so by gaining it now I’m giving my clients an advantage by being able to pass on what I’ve learnt well before it becomes mandatory.

“I think at the moment there are very few people who have already qualified and even fewer within the housing sector so I’m really proud to be one of the first.”

Michelle completed the course, which is the equivalent of a Bachelors degree level, at Bishop Auckland College.

She fitted her studying in around her full-time role at Derwentside Homes and finished the qualification, which normally takes around 12 months, in just four-and-a-half months.

Grace Fenner, Coordinator of Career Guidance and Development at Bishop Auckland College and Michelle’s tutor, said: “Michelle was the first student to complete the qualification at Bishop Auckland College and she should be incredibly proud of her achievement.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for professionals to upgrade to a qualification that reflects a growing need for high quality guidance. Michelle’s new skills and knowledge will undoubtedly benefit many people in the area.”

Derwentside Homes’ Brighter Futures scheme was set up last year thanks to funding from North East Procurement (NEP). It has since worked with more than 300 people, helping 257 access training courses and 85 into work.

Karen Morris, Head of Community Investment & Customer Services at Derwentside Homes, said: “We are all very proud of Michelle's achievements, both in becoming one of the first people to complete this new qualification and in the service she has provided for the Brighter Futures scheme at Derwentside Homes.”


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