Northumberland residents looking for work and businesses seeking staff are being brought together in a new partnership designed to help more people into employment via training and support.

The Northumberland Employment Partnership, funded by the North East Combined Authority as part of the Employment Partnerships programme, links employers with support and training providers to help provide opportunities for people seeking work.

Programme leaders are encouraging both employers and residents looking for a job to get involved, in a bid to help get more people into work across the county.

A collaboration between Northumberland County Council and Advance Northumberland, specialists in employment, skills and business sectors work closely with organisations to identify and resolve recruitment needs, influence training provision and support, train and retain staff.

They also offer Northumberland residents practical help and support to take advantage of the jobs available with local employers.

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Additional support from Advance Northumberland gives employers the opportunity to improve and resolve issues which may restrict growth and profitability, identify any available funding opportunities and assist with the recruitment and development of staff.

Residents are supported into work by a network of employability and skills providers, made up of more than 120 member organisations providing over 250 experts who collaborate regularly to share expertise and opportunities.

Among its early success stories is a collaboration between employers in Berwick, Bernicia Homes, Newcastle Foundation and Rise earlier this year, which delivered a three-week course to unemployed young people. This included teaching interview and practical application skills along with offering wellbeing support.

Among those taking part was Berwick youngster Kieron, who was referred by his Jobcentre Plus work coach.

“Before doing this course I had been unemployed for a long time and while I was feeling pretty nervous on the first day, I’ve learnt so much, and I feel a lot more confident now,” he said.

“I would definitely recommend this course for anyone struggling to find a job. It’s really helped boost my social skills and my interview skills.”

Lauren Dixon, Employability Project Officer with Newcastle United Foundation added: “On the first day, it’s always nerve-wracking for the participants but it’s amazing as the weeks go on to see them flourish, build new social skills and make new friends through these courses.

“By the final day, you can see them communicating brilliantly with each other and with the staff, and there are always new friendships forming which is lovely to see.”

The partnership is keen to welcome new employers who may benefit from introductions to candidates actively seeking work and are committed to developing their skills.

“We’ve just had two young people secure employment with Haven and they haven’t even completed the course yet. It’s wonderful to see them achieve what they set out to do,” Lauren added.