A YOUTH unemployment charity has been given a welcome boost after taking ownership of a fork lift truck donated by one of the region’s leading manufacturers.

The Employability Trust was singled out by Japanese company Komatsu after senior management heard about the efforts of the charity to help young people find secure long term work.

The Birtley based manufacturer of construction equipment had a surplus stock of machinery after investing in new products to boost productivity and efficiency.

So as part of a training exercise Komatsu’s apprentices repainted an old fork lift truck and donated it to The Employability Trust who will use it for fork lift training and warehousing operations.

Bill Marley, Chief Executive of the Peterlee-based charity, said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen by Komatsu to receive the fork lift truck. A machine like that is a tremendous asset and will make a real difference to us.

“We offer young people fork lift truck training so this machine will be used to further enhance our programme, and we also pick and pack on behalf of many of our clients so it will strengthen our capabilities within this area as well.

“Komatsu are a massive global manufacturer so for them to come to us with this offer means so much. We can’t thank them enough for supporting us with this donation.”

Komatsu enlisted the help of Windsor Material Handling who repaired and refurbished the fork lift truck, as well as providing the safety materials and transporting the machine to The Employability Trust’s premises on the South West Industrial Estate.

Warren Davey, control engineer at Komatsu, said: “We regularly review the condition of our machinery and this particular fork lift was nine years old so we felt that because of the standards we work to, we needed to replace it. However, it was still in good working order so we decided to give our apprentices the task of repainting it as part of their training.

“We had been made aware of the trust and the great work Bill and his team were doing to help young people find work, so we asked if we could donate the truck to them as part of our commitment to supporting local charities. We know it’ll be a real asset to the trust and hopefully help them support even more people into employment.”

The Employability Trust was set up by Bill Marley five years ago to help young people gain the skills and experience needed to get a foot on the career ladder. In that time the team has helped hundreds of people, who had struggled to find work, into secure employment with a range of companies throughout the region.