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Major new apprentice scheme gets underway

A NEW social enterprise scheme has enlisted the services of 10 apprentices in County Durham, with several more expected to follow across the North East, as the initiative steps up its efforts to get more young people into the workplace.

The recently launched Community Impact Enterprise (CIE) organisation was set up to bring about social change by developing employment opportunities for young people living at a distance from significant labour markets.

The organisation has now recruited 10 apprentices to its Urban Blitz scheme, which trains young people in carrying out community environmental and cleaning tasks in collaboration with Durham County Council and Stanley Town Council.

Initially the scheme will take place in the Derwentside area of County Durham but is expected to be rolled out across the wider North East in the coming months.

CIE was developed by Peter Robinson, CEO of national environmental and cleaning specialist Nordic Pioneer, and Kully Brooks, managing director of Focus Training and Development, which delivers work based learning programmes, support and consultancy services.

Speaking at the launch of CIE’s first apprenticeship programme at Stanley Town Council’s depot in Annfield Plain, Mr Robinson said: “We’re delighted to get the programme off the ground at a time when so many young people are facing an uncertain future amid mass unemployment.

“We hope to contribute to a strong, sustainable and socially inclusive economy and aim to achieve this by creating real, sustainable employment opportunities through collaborative approaches.”

Dan Rose, a 17-year-old apprentice on the Urban Blitz scheme, added: “I’m really excited about this opportunity. I love working outdoors and am really keen to secure a hands-on job, hopefully in the cleaning industry, when I qualify.”

CIE’s founders decided to set up the organisation in response to the current conditions which, in the fourth quarter of 2011, left 1.2 million 16 – 19 year olds out of work, with unemployment as a whole rising to 8.3%.

Alongside Mr Robinson and Mrs Brooks, other members of the CIE team include Martin Briscoe, area supervisor of Clean and Green North, and apprentice programme manager Michael Garner.

For more information or further enquiries on the CIE initiative please email: info@cie.uk.net

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