A BUSINESS-LED organisation determined to increase awareness of career opportunities in the North-East has launched a project to connect young people with firms amid cancelled jobs fairs.

High Tide Foundation, created by businesses on Teesport to support young people on Teesside, is teaming up with a national charity Speakers for Schools to bring work experience opportunities to Tees Valley young people after the pandemic brought traditional ways of networking to an end.

The partnership hopes to connect at least 1,500 young people aged 14 to 19 with over 100 businesses – including PD Ports, Jacksons Law, Active Financial Planners, Casper Shipping, Visualsoft and Intelect – who can introduce them to careers they may not have thought of.

Project leaders are calling on more businesses and schools to step forward and get involved to benefit from live, interactive and virtual career opportunities.

Chair of High Tide, Mark Easby, said: "Covid has heightened worries and anxieties amongst young people relating to career choices and we need to do everything we can to give them the support they deserve.

"Tees Valley has a huge range of industries to offer exciting pathways and we want to continue to open those doorways to our region’s young people.”

Lauren Bywater, High Tide’s general manager, added they employers now have an opportunity to "help repair" damage as a result of the virus.

She said: “Employers in the Tees Valley now have the opportunity to help repair some of the damage that the pandemic has brought about by curtailing work experience opportunities this year.

"Speakers for Schools alongside High Tide has significant experience in this field and will offer full support to any employer who is prepared to step up and help out."

Jason Elsom, chief executive officer at Speakers for Schools, said: “All we ask is that local industries are prepared to take a little time out of your working week to give our youngsters a helping hand on the careers ladder by introducing them to a working environment.

"Our team are delighted to partner with High Tide to support businesses every step of the way to create and deliver quality experiences that will inspire, inform and craft career ambitions and progression for young people of the Tees Valley.”

If you are an employer or school in Tees Valley and want to get involved, contact Lauren at lauren@hightidefoundation.co.uk.

If you are an employer or school in the North-East region and would like to get involved, contact Jen Kitching, head of region – North East at Speakers for Schools via jen.kitching@speakersforschools.org.