Motoring ahead with new job skills

Top to bottom, Shane Hepple, Craig Dickson and Jamie Thornton
Top to bottom, Shane Hepple, Craig Dickson and Jamie Thornton

GARAGE bosses are firing on all cylinders in the drive to help young people into work.

The Tyrezone and Park Road Garage are the latest organisations to back the Hartlepool Mail’s Work in Progress campaign.

The Hartlepool firms, owned by Andrew and Bev Keenan, have enjoyed a long-running partnership with local schools, Hartlepool College of Further Education, Nacro Services and Jobcentre Plus’ back to work schemes, giving dozens of young apprenticeships a hand on the road to employment.

Bev hailed the Mail’s new initiative, saying: “I think it’s good, unemployment is right across the board – everywhere is struggling.

“We all need to do all we can to combat it.”

Three success stories from the garages are Craig Dickson, 21, and 20-year-olds Shane Hepple and Jamie Thornton.

Craig, from the Dyke House area, has been trained at Park Road Garage over the past three years.

He is now permanently employed at the garage, having gained his NVQ Level 2 and 3 mechanics qualifications through Hartlepool College of Further Education and he has just passed an MOT testing course.

Jamie Thornton, from the Oxford Road area of town, started going to Tyrezone, in Burn Road, from being aged 13 through Nacro, having dropped out of Dyke House School.

After being put through training, he is now a full-time tyre fitter.

Shane, from Greatham, has completed his NVQ Level 1 in mechanics and is now doing his Level 2 course.

Bev said: “My husband really tries to help to get the next generation involved in something.

“I think all businesses are struggling at the moment so taking on staff when they are having to cut back is really difficult, especially with younger people.

“They sometimes take them on when they are not quite ready to settle down and for other businesses to take that responsibility on, it’s quite demanding and it’s not an easy time to do it.

“But if businesses like ourselves do keep taking these young people on, even if we can’t place them in employment, we are providing them with experience and key skills to progress later on in work and job interviews.”