Prestigious award for North Tyneside skills programme

David Foster, housing property services and highways investment manager, North Tyneside Council; Karen Clark, chief officer, Justice Prince; and Mick Stobbart, service manager, Kier North Tyneside, with the Tpas Award. Picture by Ant Clausen Photography.
David Foster, housing property services and highways investment manager, North Tyneside Council; Karen Clark, chief officer, Justice Prince; and Mick Stobbart, service manager, Kier North Tyneside, with the Tpas Award. Picture by Ant Clausen Photography.

A programme helping teenagers get on the career ladder has won a prestigious award.

Officials at Kier North Tyneside are celebrating after its Working Roots programme won a Tpas Award for Excellence in employment, skills and training.

Working Roots trainees presented with their certificates from the scheme's partners.

Working Roots trainees presented with their certificates from the scheme's partners.

The work based initiative offers training and vocational qualifications to hard-to-reach 16 to 18-year-olds.

Tpas, England’s leading tenant engagement experts, awarded the collaborative partnership between Kier North Tyneside, North Tyneside Council and Justice Prince CIC ‘excellence in employment, skills and training award – contractor’ in the north region.

Since 2013, the Working Roots programme has helped almost 100 young people across North Tyneside.

Mike Furze, regional director for Kier Housing Maintenance, said: “The Working Roots programme is a collaborative partnership that has truly changed lives.

“It is hugely rewarding to see the transformation of so many young people on the course and we are very proud of the part we play in it.

“I’m thrilled Working Roots has been recognised in the coveted Tpas Awards and hope communities will see the benefits of this initiative for years to come.”

Mayor Norma Redfearn CBE, said: “It gives me great pleasure to see the Working Roots project receive yet another award.

“It’s a fantastic initiative which works to improve the lives of young people, giving them an opportunity to acquire new skills.”

“I would like to thank the trainees and their supervisors, our colleagues in the council and Justice Prince, and the staff at Kier North Tyneside for all their hard work and commitment to what is a very effective partnership.”

Designed to support hard-to-reach teenagers who are not in education, employment, or training [NEET], the 11 month full-time course aims to build confidence and improve future job prospects for its trainees.

Each year, the programme takes 24 trainees and provides practical work experience and the opportunity to secure formal qualifications in subjects such as Maths and English. As well as offering a vocational qualification in either gardening, painting and decorating, fencing or cleaning.

The 2016/17 cohort cleared more than 500 gardens, erected over 635sqm fencing, painted 75 houses, cleaned over 60 properties, with tenants and the community impressed with the work.

Supported by the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird, and the Elected Mayor of North Tyneside, the programme has secured recognition across the region as well as in the National Housing Awards.