North East job seekers given a New Start

A new employability programme in the North East is tackling unemployment rates head on, having supported 71 local job seekers into career starter roles. 

New Start, a paid placement programme for people aged 25 and over, is working with local employers to offer job seekers five-month opportunities, opening doors for candidates who were previously struggling to find work. 

The programme is a partnership between housing providers in the North of Tyne region, Karbon Homes, Your Homes Newcastle (YHN), North Tyneside Council, Northumberland County Council, Changing Lives and Bernicia, and roles were open to customers living in their homes. 

The programme aims to establish a new employment framework which enables more people to achieve their career aspirations. With no prior experience needed and ongoing support from an employment advisor, the programme has enabled applicants to explore roles within a wide range of industries, including engineering, hospitality, construction, law and teaching. 

Alex, a 27-year-old Byker Community Trust customer, which is part of Karbon Homes, has faced a lot of challenges in work due to having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). New Start enabled him to get a role working as a Retail Worker at video game lounge Ctrl: Pad, where his active personality has been embraced. 

 “I’ve been really encouraged by the management team. The energy I give off really helps the customers feel more welcome. It’s overwhelming. I’ve finally got somewhere I’m happy to work in.” 

Local businesses who have taken on New Start applicants have been able to gain the benefits of the scheme as well.  

Sam Storey, who runs Belle & Herbs Farm with his business partner Pan Phyu Phyu Hmwe, said: 

We want to grow the business so we can produce more but we want to do it in an ethical way. By signing up to the New Start programme, we’re able to give paid work placements to people over 25 who are looking for either their first job or a chance to change direction. It’s a win-win situation. They gain some great work experience and skills and we get some great help.” 

The New Start programme is funded by the UK Government’s Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) through the UK Community Renewal Fund with the North of Tyne Combined Authority as the lead authority. 

It is one element of a wider, five-month employability project delivered by the providers, which also includes a Foundational Economy study in North Shields, Blyth and Byker, aimed at identifying the barriers to employability in those communities, and a feasibility study, to explore the idea of a shared placement model of employment for North East SMEs. 

Charlotte Carpenter, Karbon Homes Director of Growth and Business Development, said: “We are thrilled that New Start has helped so many local people to find new opportunities and take those important next steps on their career journey. 

“This is an exciting start to a project that will help shape the future of employment in the region and make an important contribution to ensuring individuals have the opportunity to fulfil their potential.  Projects such as this have a really important role to play in helping to level up disparities within and between regions.”