Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 09.48.21Ten apprentices have embarked on careers with a growing North East company after it received support from Durham County Council’s Generation NE team.

Great Annual Savings Group (GAS) relocated to Seaham in June after receiving information, guidance and financial support from the council and Business Durham.

And now it has recruited 10 new members of staff as part of a new apprenticeships scheme that aims to help the firm treble in size by the end of 2016.

Cllr Neil Foster, Durham County Council cabinet member for regeneration said: “Generation NE’s help for local businesses to connect with the region’s next generation of employees is a win-win situation as it gives young people the opportunities and experience they need to kick start their careers, while giving companies the chance to enhance, rejuvenate and future-proof.

“As well as access to our pool of young and enthusiastic talent, Generation NE offers impartial, tailor-made support whenever firms need it and its team of expert business advisors are always on hand to provide invaluable, one-to-one advice to help companies grow and evolve.”

The Generation NE programme supports unemployed 17 to 24-year-olds, including those who are claiming job seekers allowance or universal credit, across Durham, Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumberland and North Tyneside.

It also is able to support some of those who are taking part in pre-work schemes.

It does this by helping them to gain and sustain employment, training and work experience; helping businesses to recruit; and providing impartial advice for both young people and companies on the range of services and options open to them.

Generation NE also offers funding to support both employers and potential recruits, including assistance to overcome any potential barriers to work, such as childcare, transport, equipment, and training costs.

The Durham team includes Laura Barron and Diane Pearson who work as employment advisors and Gill Cairns and Abby Hughes who work with local businesses to find and match employment opportunities.

The 10 new recruits who have received their help will all look to complete a three-year apprenticeship at GAS.

Kieran Blenkinsop, 19, from Coxhoe, 20 year-old Glenn Bryden from Peterlee, 18-year-old Clark Stead from Ryhope, and 19-year-old Nathan Cassidy from Seaham are undertaking an apprenticeship in sales, 19-year-old Michael Cunningham, from Peterlee, is plying his trade in the finance department, and 18-year-old Nathan Raine, from Wheatley Hill, has been recruited to the assist the HR team.

Bethany Armstrong, 19, from Ryhope, is working in business administration; and 17 year-old Abbey Bestford, from Peterlee, are learning to work in customer services, and 18-year-old Ben McArdle and 17-year-old Louise Richardson, from Seaham and Peterlee, are taking up apprenticeships in sales administration.

Judith Bennison, group HR director at Great Annual Savings Group, said: “There is some really exciting young talent on our doorstep and our new recruits all have different qualities that they can bring to the business.

“We recognise the value of apprenticeships in reducing unemployment, creating jobs and boosting the skills base of the North East workforce.” 

Official Government figures show that apprenticeships generate an estimated £34 billion each year for the UK economy, with businesses reporting average productivity gains of £214 per week.

For more information about Generation NE, and to find out if you are eligible, call 03000 262009.