Developed by Bedlington charity, Leading Link whose aim is to provide real life opportunities to maximise the potential of young people via business and enterprise, the project, (Future 4) sees 21 students from St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy in Bedlington visiting and experiencing real work situations. Once all five workplaces have been visited the students identify the type of work they want to look into further and then go back to their choice of employer to carry out a short work experience project.
The first visit saw the students visit Wallsend based Blue Line Taxis where they were given a talk about the business, saw how call centre agents are trained and found out about the Blueline Driving Academy. In partnership with Northumberland College, the Academy trains future drivers in customer service, dealing with difficult situations and also provides knowledge-based training.
The students also learned how the business has developed from a one-car business in 1958 to now having more than 600 cars, a Ford franchise garage, insurance brokers and a property portfolio of over 30 properties.
Blueline Managing Director Ian Shanks was delighted to show the students around his facilities.
“ This programme allows the students to make decisions on their future career based on what they have experienced on their visit. At Blue Line we have a wide range of jobs from call centre operator to taxi driver and from insurance brokers to mechanics. We’re pleased to have helped them with this visit.”
Other firms that have pledged to help over the next five weeks include New Life Contracts, a carpet and flooring business in Washington, Northern Gas Networks in Sunderland, HMS Calliope the Royal Naval Reserves base in Gateshead and Northumbrian Bearings in Cramlington.
Lyn Horton from Leading Link explained why the scheme was so important to not only the students but to the employer too.
“We all know that jobs are at a premium and that students have to show that they are the very best in order to succeed. This pilot scheme gives students important tangible experiences that they can put onto their CVs giving them a head start over others. On the other hand, employers benefit as it can offer them a steady stream of talent and may also help to reduce recruitment costs such as advertising and recruitment agency fees.