Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Firm Ties in with Youth Group to Improve Skills; LET'S WORK TOGETHER

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Firm Ties in with Youth Group to Improve Skills; LET'S WORK TOGETHER

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM KEIGHLEY tom.keighley@ncjmedia.co.uk

BEAN BAG manufacturer Bazaar Group is using a youth project on its doorstep to help improve the skills of its workforce.

The Cramlington-based firm is the latest to back The Journal's Let's Work Together campaign and is reaping the rewards of its partnership with Silx Teen Bar - a youth project in neighbouring Blyth.

Silx refers young unemployed people to Bazaar, which then spends time with them to identify their strengths and develop their skills.

As a result of the scheme, two young people have been employed full-time and six others have experienced seasonal warehouse positions.

Mark Dolder, Bazaar's managing director, said: "For some of the young people we work with, being upfront and confident about the skills they have does not come naturally, so we give them space to be able to identify them.

"For instance, we recently had someone who made us some inspection tables for the workshop because it turned out he had some woodworking experience. Sometimes all they need is a bit of experience to prove themselves.

"We're deliberately flexible about where we involve young people in the business because we want to grow them and help them achieve their potential."

Those referred from Silx may experience the creative ways in which many firms are tackling the issue and aims to get more companies working with schools and colleges to provide the best opportunities to the next generation of workers. The North East's school leavers have seen an increase in their skill levels over the last 10 years, but the region is still lacking in many of the higher level skills required by employers.

The skills shortage has been highlighted in a number of economic sectors - including construction, engineering, manufacturing and the creative industries - and makes up the backdrop to the North East LEP's Strategic Economic Plan to create "more and better jobs". …

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