Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 09.16.56Two young women heard ‘you’re hired’ recently thanks to the work of a Durham housing association.

Demi Skillings and Sophie Harvey have both secured business administration apprenticeships through County Durham Housing Group’s Employability Team.

The 18 and 21 year olds have been placed with Gateshead-based Commercial Maintenance Services (CMS) UK Ltd, the auto-parts and mobile vehicle company, and are now gaining hands-on skills in an office environment.

Demi said: “I finished my A-levels and felt that experience of the working world would bring me more opportunities than continuing in full-time education.

Sophie continued: “I was exactly the same as Demi – I was at university and it wasn’t for me. I struggled to find full-time employment, so an apprenticeship was a fantastic solution.”

Both girls are tenants of East Durham Homes, a County Durham Housing Group landlord, and worked with Employability and Skills Officer Claire Maddison to secure the placements.

Claire said: “It’s a common conundrum for young people today – go into further education or start to work; but unfortunately the latter is sometimes easier said than done in today’s climate.

“By working closely with Durham County Council we have been able to give Demi and Sophie access to practical experience and transferrable skills, which will prove invaluable for their future career paths.”

County Durham Housing Group was established in April 2015 following the transfer of ownership and management of almost 18,500 homes from Durham County Durham.

The group’s establishment was founded on a set of promises to tenants, which included creating apprenticeships for local people – in the last few months alone more than 10 opportunities have been created in various disciplines across the county.

Claire concluded: “We pride ourselves on securing local opportunities for local people, and working with our tenants to unleash their full potential.”

For more information email employability@cdhg.co.uk or visit www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk