The North East’s largest building society has announced a comprehensive programme of support and investment to enhance employability, develop skills, and realise the potential and talent of the region.

At the heart of the Society’s announcement is a four-year commitment totalling over £100,000 to support The Prince’s Trust ‘Team’ programme.

Team is a twelve-week programme for unemployed 16-25 year old people which helps them build their skills, confidence and experience to set them on the path to employment.

The donation, from the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at The Community Foundation, will enable 28 young people per year from across the region to experience the programme.  This will be supplemented by additional support from Society colleagues who will contribute to the programme through mentoring, supported work experience, and role shadowing to help participants gain a better understanding of the nature and variety of roles across the Society.  The Team programme will run across the region with young people local to all of the Society’s 28 branches having the opportunity to benefit from this initiative.

Ben Marson, director of partnerships at The Prince’s Trust, said: “This commitment from Newcastle Building Society will help us to change the lives of more young people across the North East through our Prince’s Trust Team programme. We believe the partnership will make a huge difference in helping us to extend the reach of the programme and support local young people to develop the confidence and skills they need to live, learn and earn.”

In a further initiative to help develop skills across the region, the Society will also be trebling its apprentice intake.  Ten new apprentices will join this Autumn, developing skills in a variety of specialist areas and a further five new apprentice opportunities will be available early in the New Year.

In addition, Newcastle Building Society’s successful graduate recruitment programme, which seeks to retain talent produced by the region’s universities, will be increased.  The programme will become an annual initiative, providing more graduates with opportunities to receive ongoing support and development from the Society as they begin their careers and transition from academic life.

Newcastle Building Society chief executive, Andrew Haigh, said: “We are passionate about our role as an employer and the difference we can make in helping to build and retain skills across the North East region.  These initiatives are all about making a serious commitment to find and nurture the potential of our region’s incredibly talented young people.

“Working with The Prince’s Trust, we will help build the confidence and ability of young people who may simply never have appreciated just how capable they are and ensure that they are better prepared to make the most of opportunities to progress.  We will provide practical assistance to 112 young people over the four year programme.

“Our apprentice and graduate programmes provide extensive support to help young and talented people who have joined the Society launch their careers with a really positive start.”

As well as announcing its commitment to a lasting and coordinated programme of skills development, Newcastle Building Society forecasts additional jobs growth through 2018 and beyond.  At the half-year, it reported 26 new jobs. The ongoing success of the Society and its subsidiaries means that this trend is expected to continue, with a current estimate that by the end of 2018, over 100 new roles will have been created in its Newcastle City Centre and North Tyneside offices, and across its branch network.  Recruitment is ongoing for new roles in technology, customer services and branches, with more new roles anticipated.