Groundwork North East & Cumbria is helping to battle youth unemployment in County Durham after it officially opened its newest training centre, The Project, in Peterlee.

The Project is home to Groundwork staff delivering accredited training related to improving young people’s employment prospects, along with personal development opportunities and a drop-in facility. Groundwork is a delivery partner for DurhamWorks Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) and the facility is part-funded by the European Social Fund. as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.

The aim of The Project is to reduce the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) in East Durham, which traditionally has one of the lowest youth employment figures the UK. It will offer personalised careers advice tailored to the local job market, advocacy and information along with skills-based training and activities aimed at improving confidence and softer skills.

Over the next two years, the Groundwork Youth Team hopes to help more than 500 young people throughout County Durham aged between 16 and 24 to enter employment and is off to a good start after creating six new apprentices to support its team of eight experienced Youth Coaches.

Alison Kirk, Youth Programme Manager, said: “We’re extremely pleased to be opening The Project. It’s important that there are opportunities in the area for young people to improve their employability and a safe place to come whenever they need help.

“The Project will help Groundwork achieve one of its core aims, which is to help young people gain the skills and confidence they need to secure employment and go on to succeed in the world of work.

“The young people who will benefit from The Project are the next generation of workers, so it’s vital that they are given the support they need to be able to succeed.”