College steps in to help jobseekers

Paul Marshall of Hartlepool College of Further Education (centre)  with job hunters Michael Driver (left) and Graham Lyth.

Paul Marshall of Hartlepool College of Further Education (centre) with job hunters Michael Driver (left) and Graham Lyth.

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THINGS are looking up for two jobseekers after the Hartlepool Mail linked them up with college bosses.

Michael Driver looks set to start on a training course with Hartlepool College of Further Education’s Work Academy that would see him learning skills in production and assembly line work.

Paul Marshall of Hartlepool College of Further Education (centre) with job-hunters  Michael Driver (right) and Graham Lyth

Paul Marshall of Hartlepool College of Further Education (centre) with job-hunters Michael Driver (right) and Graham Lyth

If successful in initial assessments, the 20-year-old, who is one of the faces of the Mail’s Work in Progress campaign, could start the three-week intensive course, at premises in the town’s Exeter Street, in two weeks’ time.

Each round of training sees 25 people learning assembly line skills on 9am-5pm shifts, just like a full working day.

At the end of the course, employees and recruitment agencies then meet those who have completed training, with a view to interviewing them for a job.

The Mail arranged for Paul Marshall, the college’s business and workforce development manager to meet Michael, alongside 50-year-old Graham Lyth, who is also a face of our campaign.

All three agreed it was a successful meeting and Michael and Graham said they did not know the college, which offers one of the country’s largest ranges of apprenticeships, had so much on offer to help the unemployed.

Mr Marshall said 240 people successfully completed the course when it was previously held at a facility in Newton Aycliffe last year – and 75 per cent of those are now in employment.

He added: “We work with a number of agencies and at the end of the course, recruitment agencies and direct employers come in and interview people like Michael and Graham here to get them into real jobs.

“These two lads are interested in production and assembly line training and in two weeks time we could get them into training and get them a manufacturing qualification like an EAL Level 2 NVQ.”

Mr Marshall praised the Mail’s campaign, saying: “It’s good for awareness-raising – unemployment is on the rise unfortunately, so I think something’s got to be done.

“But I think there’s a lot of work out there, especially in this town, with local providers, colleges, employers and Jobcentre Plus and a lot of agencies out there trying to work together.

Michael, from Lanark Road, in the Owton Manor area of town, said: “I learned a lot from the meeting with Paul and the course sounds great.

“There are guaranteed job interviews at the end of it and it’s an area I would be interested in working in, without a doubt.”

The Mail reported last month that he had been offered a job with The Condensation Shop, in Essex.

But sadly he had to turn it down due to financial reasons – but he was extremely grateful for the offer.

Mr Marshall said the college also offers courses for the long-term unemployed and offer help to older people, as “a lot of employers want to take on more mature people”.

He added that he had had a meeting with Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond and various councillors about training and employment provision and it was agreed that a way forward is to get involved in renewables and green energy, especially after a small decline in construction and house building.

Graham, who lives in the Chester Road area and has been out of work for four years despite sending off around 250 applications, said: “I will have a think about it and go and see what it is like.”

The Mail’s campaign comes after last month’s jobless figures showed there were 4,633 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in January, up from 4,451 in December.