Senior Labour politician Chuka Umunna praises East Durham charity for ‘changing lives’

Chuka Umunna and Jordan Pegman, who used the trust and gained employment afterwards.
Chuka Umunna and Jordan Pegman, who used the trust and gained employment afterwards.
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A SENIOR politician paid a visit to a charity tackling youth unemployment.

Labour’s shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna travelled to the East Durham Employability Trust in Peterlee.

A note left by Chuka Umunna.

A note left by Chuka Umunna.

The visit gave him the chance to speak to representatives from the trust to find out what it does to get youths in the area into work.

And Mr Umunna was so impressed with the work that he left a note for the team from Peterlee, saying: “What can I say, you guys are literally changing lives here – it’s been a joy to see what you do.

“Thanks for building ladders of opportunity for young people in this area and the UK.”

Bill Marley, from the Employability Trust, said he was delighted to host a high-profile visitor.

Chuka Umunna and Bill Marley, chief executive officer of the East Durham Employablity Trust

Chuka Umunna and Bill Marley, chief executive officer of the East Durham Employablity Trust

He said: “Hosting the visit of Chuka Umunna is a real testament to the excellent work being done by The Employability Trust to tackle youth unemployment in the East Durham area.

“To me what we’re doing isn’t rocket science, we’re simply giving young people who demonstrate a willingness to work and have the right attitude the opportunity to learn and gain the skills industry look for.

“But then when you look at our results it is clear our model works. Of the young people we’ve taken on work experience placements, 85 per cent have gone on to find secure work, while we’ve also taken on 61 people at the trust on short term paid placements.”

He added: “That makes me incredibly proud and I’m so pleased other people, not just regionally but nationally, are taking notice.”

Government visit coincides with clinching of contract

The Employability Trust was visited by Sue Houston, the North-East representative for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), in March.

Mrs Houston was taken on a tour of the Peterlee facility to see for herself the invaluable work being done by the team.

Her visit coincided with the trust securing a contract with Peterlee-based electrical test equipment specialist Seaward Electronic, which has taken two members of the team, Melissa Hammond and Alex Errington, on short-term paid contracts.