A new programme has been unveiled to help businesses create job opportunities for young people.
Over the next three years, Generation NE – a collaboration between five local authorities including North Tyneside Council and the NELEP – will support small and medium-sized businesses to increase sustainable employment opportunities for up to 2,000 young people.
The £4.5m programme, which forms part of the NELEP’s Growth Deal, will work with businesses in the region to create sustainable employment for 2,000 young people aged between 17 and 24.
Mayor, Norma Redfearn added: “In North Tyneside we are dedicated to harnessing the talent and potential of all our young people whether it is through further education, apprenticeships or employment.
“This exciting new programme is designed to increase opportunities for them.
“I’m pleased that Accenture and many other local businesses are supporting this work, and I hope more will join the programme and step up to the challenge to provide the range of opportunities required to put our young people on the path to future success.”
Accenture, based on Cobalt Business Park, has recruited more than 50 apprentices to fill the skills gap in the IT industry since 2012.
Managing director Bob Paton said: “The university route is not right for everyone. At Accenture, we understand that and don’t close the door on young people if traditional higher education isn’t for them.
“From day one, our apprentices earn a salary while developing expert IT skills at Newcastle College in the first year of the programme, and Northumbria University in years two and three.”
“It is great to see five North East Local Authorities and the NELEP coming together to launch Generation NE.
“As a company we’ve seen first-hand how both businesses and young people can benefit from the real-life work experience that an apprenticeship programme can offer, while allowing businesses to bring a fresh new outlook to the company.”
Ellie Gangel, 18, from North Tyneside, applied for Accenture’s apprenticeship programme last year after receiving a recommendation from a friend already enrolled in the scheme.
She said: “I was so happy to be given a chance and found that computer skills came naturally to me because of the tech-savvy generation I’ve been brought up in.
“Learning the job in a real working environment has hugely boosted my confidence and set me on the right track for a successful career in the technology industry.”
Fellow apprentice Lewis Reed, 22, from Whitley Bay, said: “I’ve always wanted to work in the IT industry.
“Being part of the working environment at Accenture, trusted with my own day-to-day responsibilities has helped me to mature so much. I’ve learnt a lot from my colleagues, things I would never have learnt in a classroom.”
Gill Southern, Joint Chair of the North East LEP’s Business Support Board, said: “It’s essential that small businesses are given expert support to employ more young people who are the future lifeblood of their companies and the wider North East economy.
“The £4.5m investment into Generation NE through the North East LEP’s Growth Deal is aimed at helping strengthen companies by offering a brighter future of job opportunities to local young people keen to get on the employment ladder.”
For more information on Generation NE visit www.generationne.co.uk or call 0191 598 7458.