A CHARITY which supports young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs) has helped 84 per cent of the indivduals it has taken on work experience placements to find secure full time jobs.

The Employability Trust aims to reduce youth unemployment across the East Durham area by offfering practical experience and work-based training to help youngsters get a foot on the career ladder.

During 2013, the charity, which is based on the South West Industrial Estate in Peterlee, gave 19 young people work experience placements and of those, 16 have gone on to find secure employment with businesses in the local area including Philadelphia Structures, Sinso Retail Services, Clipper and Country Style Foods.

Loading article content

The Employability Trust also directly employed 61 people between the ages of 16 and 24 on short term contracts while 50 per cent of its work force are apprentices who have been brought out of the benefits system and given the opportunity to earn while they learn.

Bill Marley, who founded The Employability Trust last year after a 40-year career in industry, said: "These statistics are the biggest endorsement of everything the trust is about. We're not only giving young people real work and life experience which is invaluable in helping them find employment; we're also supporting them past the final hurdle which is them being taken on by one of the area's businesses.

"During the last year we've helped 77 people into work; 61 here at the trust and 16 people who have gone on to find jobs following their work experience placement with us.

"These are young people who were out of work and stuck in the benefits system, lacking the confidence and self belief they needed to change their lives. However, what they didn't lack was a willingness to work and what we instill in them are the skills and ethics which employers look for. Our job is essentialy to get them industry ready so the local workforce wants to employ them."

Youth unemployment continues to blight the North-East. Th latest figures showed there were 4,900 people aged 18 to 24 in the region claiming jobseekers' allowance for more than 12 months.

The trust works with a number of partners to help unemployed young people from across East Durham and since launching, it has secured work with Metro Mail, Wilsonart and Seaward.

The multi-purpose unit where it is based includes a workshop, storage and loading areas, meeting rooms, IT facilities and a training centre.

One of trust's apprentices is Keith Allen-Carr, who works in the warehouse. He said: "I was so pleased to have been given this opportunity as jobs are very hard to come by for young people. Working with The Employability Trust means I am learning while I earn which is great for me. It's such a good place to work, everyone really wants to be here and I look forward to coming in every day."