A further £10 million in funding has been provided to help support young people into education, employment and training across County Durham.
The Durham County Council led partnership programme, DurhamWorks, has been awarded the funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) to extend its support to young people who are ‘not in education, employment or training’ (NEET) or who are at risk of becoming so.
So far, over 8,000 young people across the county have been supported, and thanks to the latest funding, the programme will be able to reach an additional 6,300 15-24-year-olds, with funding for its third phase set to continue until December 2023.
Meanwhile, DurhamWorks is continuing to help young people find jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.
It has supported a number into employment since March, including Megan Humpherson, who was first referred to the service in January.
Through regular contact with her progression worker, Megan was able to find volunteering opportunities and complete online courses in the support and care sector before securing a job at Mencap.
Twenty-two-year-old Megan, who has a degree in International Development, said: “I first heard about DurhamWorks from my meetings at the job centre after my work coach suggested it. I had my first meeting in January 2020 and have been involved with them ever since.
“I was really interested in finding a job that involved working directly with people, such as carer roles and support worker positions. I had been researching a lot of companies in the area before I secured the role with Mencap and I’m really grateful for the support given by DurhamWorks in helping me to achieve success there.”
Cllr Olwyn Gunn, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “I am delighted that DurhamWorks has secured further funding. Its work in helping our young people to access education, employment and training for the future is vital and we are all very grateful for the opportunities DurhamWorks is providing.
“Ensuring that every young person in the county has the support and opportunity to reach their full potential is crucial to their wellbeing. The programme is even more important than ever amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Many young people may be finding it difficult to access a fulfilling role but help and support is available and I would urge people to make contact with the programme.”