A NEW business initiative in Bishop Auckland has started painting the way for young people.

Painting and decorating students from Bishop Auckland College are some of the first to collaborate with Trades4Care, a new initiative set up by local businessmen Andrew Coxon and Charlie Wright.

The project enables students to gain experience and life skills by being paired with vetted and qualified tradespeople to undertake trade and maintenance jobs at health and social care, education and community sites.

As well as allowing students to gain real-world experience, it also bridges a generational divide and allows tradespeople to pass their skills on to the next generation of sector workers.

Students will complete extended placements and work-based experience opportunities in a welcoming and supportive environment where each mentor company has been handpicked to provide the most effective experience possible.

They will also receive a bespoke series of life skill sessions covering everything from interview techniques to time management while sudents will also have access to a network of employers within the local community.

Mr Coxon said: “Trades4Care provide governance over pricing to ensure value for money, we provide opportunities for young people to develop skills under their supervision and provide colleges and organisations with a proactive work placement and life skills wrap-around service."

“This is a collaborative project working closely with local colleges and organisations to provide an enhanced journey of opportunity for our young people, including work placements, life skills, coaching and mentorship, supported by strong supervision and suitably qualified, competent and vetted tradespeople."

While currently facilitating opportunities for painting and decorating students, Trades4Care will soon expand its focus to include opportunities in plumbing and gas, PAT testing, joinery, plastering, ground maintenance, IT support and business admin.

The college offers a range of courses in Construction and Motor Vehicle for school leavers and adults. For more information on these and other courses and apprenticeships, visit bacoll.ac.uk, email start@bacoll.ac.uk or call 0800-0926506.