middlesbrough-moving-forwardA “PASSING out” ceremony for young people who have completed a British Army-led course promoting employment opportunities is to take place.

Middlesbrough Town Hall will host the event which will celebrate eight local youngsters who have recently taken part in the Armed Forces Employability Pathways (AFEP).

The six-week programme aims to provide participants with the opportunity to improve their employment prospects and ideally secure apprenticeships or employment with participating civilian companies.

It involves a combination of military work and insight and work placement with local companies and brings together youngsters from a variety of backgrounds, including potential Army Reserve recruits, engineering apprentices, academy students and those not in education, employment or training (NEETs).

During the course the candidate will also receive a guaranteed interview, assistance with their CV and mentoring.

In addition, it aims to raise the candidate and employer’s awareness of the benefits of service in the Army Reserve or Regular Army.

Lieutenant Colonel Andy Black, of the 4th Infantry Brigade Employer Engagement Team, said: “This is a team effort, with the Army, Local Authorities across Tees Valley and most importantly local employers, delivering a unique opportunity to enhance someone CV and to move them closer to employment.”

AFEP takes referrals from Jobcentre Plus and has been running on Teesside for 12 months and is seeing successes.

The average time people spend unemployed is between six and seven months, however 50% of those who have taken part in AFEP have been back in work within six weeks.

The graduation event on Friday, October 30, in the Town Hall’s Mandela Room, will see five graduates from Middlesbrough and three from Hartlepool presented with certificates by Councillor Ron Arundale, Middlesbrough Council’s Armed Forces Champion.

The local employers who have given work placements to the eight are Sig Roofing, Teesside Karting, Seymour Construction, Thirteen Group, Gentoo, Hartlepool Borough Council and NDC Trust.