Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 09.55.00A Sunderland training company is celebrating its 40th anniversary and a legacy of helping 35,000 people improve their lives and gain employment.

Springboard Sunderland Trust started out in 1975 in a basement in Toward Road in Sunderland with a handful of staff and a turnover of £200k.

Forty years on, the organisation has a turnover of £7m, 100 employees, and 12 training centres in Sunderland, South Tyneside, Peterlee and Hartlepool.

The catalyst for Springboard Trust being set-up was a government report that revealed 54% of Wearside youngsters were unemployed and 48% had no qualifications. The Trust was originally a joint initiative between Sunderland Social Services and national volunteering provider, Community Service Volunteers.

The organisation offers personalised training programmes, mainly in child and elderly care, as well as technical skills and community development. Its mainstream programmes are study programmes and apprenticeships.

Looking back, Springboard secretary and NELP treasurer Denise Wilson, says: “I think it’s our focus on not just developing vocational skills, but helping our learners develop as people that has been our key to success.

“We have seen some major changes in the training sector during our time and have outlived a raft of government funding agencies but being part of North East Learning Providers has helped us navigate through some challenging times in the industry.”

Springboard is a long standing member of professional body, North East Learning Providers, having joined in 2001.

North East Learning Providers (NELP) is a confederation of training providers which deliver work based learning.

Members include independent training providers, colleges, employers, local authorities and voluntary organisations that operate within Northumberland, North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead, Durham, Sunderland and South Tyneside. It aims to promote, represent and support its members and the training sector as a whole.

NELP works closely with the training sector’s funding bodies including the Skills Funding Agency and the National Apprenticeship Service. Its members deliver vocational training for hundreds of employers and thousands of learners throughout the north east region.

NELP is a not for profit organisation. For more information and how to join go to www.nelp.co.uk