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Dozens of jobseekers in South East Northumberland are set to get a boost to their basic skills after a local charity received a four-figure grant from the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation.
Blyth Resource & Initiative Centre (BRIC) provides a wide range of training courses and employability services to people living in Blyth and its surrounding communities with the aim of helping them gain the skills and knowledge needed to enter the world of work.
The charity, which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year, launched a new functional skills project last autumn after being accredited to deliver courses in maths and English.
And with more 20 people on its waiting list, BRIC is now using a £2,250 grant from the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland to extend its provision of the courses, with the next ones due to start in September.
Each part of the five-stage course is passed by taking an exam, with students allowed to work at their own pace with the support of a tutor and able to decide when they’re ready to take the exams.
Job interviews, paid employment and volunteering roles have already been secured by several of the first students to complete the course.
Centre manager Sharron Fawcett says: “Our aim is to upskill local people who don’t have any qualifications, which is around one third of Blyth’s population, so that they have a better chance of catching a potential employer’s eye and getting on their interview list.
“We’re already seeing positive outcomes for our first batch of students, with several of them going on to secure interviews, get volunteering positions and find employment, and we’re keen to get even more local people learning with us in the coming months.
“Any funding is invaluable for a small charity like ours, but in this case, we simply wouldn’t be able to be running this course without Newcastle Building Society’s generous support.”