One of the region’s leading colleges has been awarded funds to help create new employment opportunities in the construction, engineering and built environment sector.

Gateshead College has successfully secured £1.5million in funding to establish BuildNE, a new initiative designed to enable long-term unemployed people across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland enter the workforce.

BuildNE will tackle the barriers people face to entering further education, training and the workplace. One of the key goals of the scheme is to provide greater access to sustainable and secure employment opportunities.

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The project is also designed to meet a chronic skills shortage in roles such as labourers, joiners, maintenance workers, groundworkers, and road/rail infrastructure engineers. It’s specifically intended to support those aged 16 and above struggling to find jobs in the construction sector, especially females and those from BAME communities looking to enter or return to the industry.

Steve Logan, Project Director at Gateshead College, said: “We need to do more to create training opportunities for people to enter the North East construction sector so that we can address the large skills shortage across the industry.

“The project will not only create specific job opportunities for those who need them most, it will also help employers with skills development, providing workers with the appropriate training and skillset to carry out the job required.

“We have well-established and strong working relationships with some of the region’s biggest construction employers.

“This, combined with our ability and experience to enable people to learn new skills, new trades and give them access to appropriate qualifications, means we can help people who are struggling to find employment and provide a solution to the construction skills shortage the region faces.”

Gateshead College has created nine new job roles to facilitate the success of the project and ensure it meets its objectives.