Operating out of Norton Grange in Stockton-on-Tees and The Exchange in Redcar, Groundwork has already worked with more than 100 youngpeople aged 15-29.

The initiative hopes to help thousands more young people enter the workforce or learning opportunities over the next two years, using a mixture of regulated and non-regulated training to help them overcome their individual barriers, such as a lack of qualifications, experience or soft skills.

Working on referrals from jobcentre plus local authorities and housing providers, along with self-referrals, Groundwork offers assistance directly to young people to enable them to enter employment or gain Level 1 and 2 qualifications, which in conjunction with personalised interview and CV advice, drastically improves their employment prospects.

Thanks to Groundwork’s extensive links with employers and third sector organisations across the region, it can source work experience placements for young people, enabling them to put the skills they gain from the programme into practice in the workplace.

Alison Kirk, Youth Programme Manager at Groundwork North East & Cumbria, said: “I’m pleased to see that, since its launch earlier this year, the Youth Employment Initiative is really picking up pace in Tees Valley.

Over the next two years, we will be helping  hundreds more young people improve their prospects, enter the world of work or find educational programmes suited to their ambitions.

“We’ve seen an increase in self-referrals over the past few weeks as news of the help we can offer spreads by word of mouth. I think that is testament to the excellent service we are delivering.

“I would encourage anyone under 29 who is looking to engage in employment or training to get in touch with us. We are able to support your progression into education or point you down the pathway to career of your choice.”

The Youth Employment Initiative is partly funded by the European Social Fund and Investment Growth Programme in England.