WORK placements thousands of miles away from home in Poland improved the job prospects of nine young people from the North-East.

The six men and three women from Stanley, Consett and South Shields were sent to Lodz and Warsaw on a Prince's Trust Work Away project so that they could boost their confidence by gaining experience and exchanging skills and ideas.

The group shared their experiences of working on landscape gardening and in a Lodz orphanage with the trust's national chief executive, Tom Shebbeare, when he presented them with certificates commemorating their achievements.

The trip was their first foreign visit and was funded by the European Union's Leonardo da Vinci Programme. It costs about £1,500 to send a young person on a Work Away programme and 25 from all parts of the region have taken part this year.

Tom Shebbeare told the group he was impressed by their courage and commitment. He said: "You have achieved a fantastic amount and I have no doubt you will remember this trip for the rest of your lives."