A CHARITY helping youngsters into work has doubled in size.

The High Tide Foundation, hailed by Prince Charles, gives 16 and 17-year-olds across Teesside work experience at port-related businesses.

Bosses say it High Tide Summer Scheme has this year worked with 32 youngsters on placements with 18 employers.

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The foundation is supported by a number of members, including PD Ports, Tata Steel and Middlesbrough-based Casper Shipping.

Part of its offering included a trip for teenagers to travel on a working container ship to St Petersburg, in Russia, with 16-year-olds Ben Cutter, from Marske, east Cleveland, and Lewis Threadgill, from Redcar, setting sail.

Other students have gained experience at Wilton Engineering, in Port Clarence, near Middlesbrough, and third generation distribution company AV Dawson, in Middlesbrough.

Kevin Shakesheff, High Tide chairman and chairman of Casper Shipping, said: “We’re really pleased the success of last year’s programme has not only meant the number of students applying has risen significantly, but that more businesses have stepped forward to support us.

“We know this kind of programme can really boost young people’s chances of future employment, and by providing them with a structured experience alongside other young people from across the area, we believe that what we are offering is quite unique.

“We’re very grateful for all the support from Teesside companies in scaling the programme up this year.

“We know the young people who are participating will benefit enormously from that support.”

He added students who successfully complete the scheme will take part in a graduation ceremony at Middlesbrough Football Club’s Riverside Stadium in September.

During a visit to the region in November last year, Prince Charles toured PD Ports, in Middlesbrough, and met leaders involved in High Tide.

He said: “I am particularly proud of the work in this area to raise aspirations and skill levels and make a big difference.

“This is a remarkably successful area of the UK.

"I know things have not been easy and there are a number of struggles to overcome, but the people here are contributing a massive amount to the UK economy.”