Wearside’s Bridge to Employment Wins Support of Major Regional Developer

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A project to build a bridge to employment for jobless young people on Wearside has won the support of a major regional developer.

Galliford Try Partnerships North is backing the Pallion Action Group (PAG) initiative to support young people not in employment, education or training (NEET).

Ten of them visited the Willow Brook scheme in Washington – a development where 79 modern rented apartments are being delivered by a partnership involving Riverside Housing Association, Sunderland City Council, the Homes and Communities Agency and Galliford Try.

They took a tour of the site, talked with industry professionals and were given the opportunity to experience what working on a large scale building project is like.

Plans are now in place to provide work placements on the £8.7 million regeneration project at Spout Lane which is transforming what was a derelict site into much-needed retirement housing for people aged 55 and over with a care and support or housing need.

PAG is a community resource centre based in an area of the city which faces specific economic and social challenges.  It currently operates a variety of projects including a pre-employment programme, money / debt advice service and a drop in job club. It also provides social and recreational activities for older members of the community.

Karen Wood, Community Development Officer with PAG said:

“At PAG we look to help people highlight – and then breakdown – the barriers that are making it difficult for them to find a way into employment.”

“It is fantastic that the partnership building this scheme in Washington is so keen to support what we are doing and is offering our young people the chance to become inspired by seeing and eventually experiencing, a dynamic workplace at first hand. From here, we can support them in building the confidence and qualifications they require to be a more attractive proposition to employers and to find routes into work.”

Debra Phillips, Employment and Skills Manager with Galliford Try Partnerships North said:

“We were delighted when Karen contacted us as we are always keen to support initiatives that look to encourage young people into the construction industry. We hope that visits like this and the work placements that we are offering will highlight the varied and rich employment opportunities offered by the industry and we hope to continue working with PAG both on this scheme and others in the Sunderland area.”

Sunderland City Council’s West Area Committee (one of five serving each part of the city) has provided more than £184,500 in funding over the last twelve months, to initiatives such as jobs clubs, apprenticeships, supporting enterprise and work experience placements. With City Council support, they are delivered by community partners including Pallion Action Group, Youth Almighty, the Tansey Centre, the Jubilee, Centre and Sunderland North Community Business Centre (SNCBC).

Councillor Amy Wilson who attended the visit added:

“We all want to see more young people get work and for many of our young people, paid work and opportunities to progress are what they want.  It is great to see organisations such as PAG and Galliford Try Partnerships North working together to help them on their way into the world of employment.”

Riverside representative, Sarah Bell said:

“We are delighted to host the young people today and showcase our new housing scheme. Riverside Housing work extensively with groups across the UK to create welcoming and friendly communities via first class housing design. We hope through this visit that we have helped to inspire the architects and builders of the future.”