The achievements of young people in Hartlepool were showcased at a celebration event.
A third birthday celebration for the Hartlepool Youth Investment Project (HYIP) - which has massively reduced youth unemployment in the town - took place at Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience.
A key feature of the event was the presentation of five special recognition awards.
Cheryl Baxter won Apprentice of the Year, Kayleigh Driver was named Volunteer of the Year, Rebecca Newton-Smith won the Employee of the Year Award, Learner of the Year was Christopher Scott and the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award went to Jacob Clyburn.
Launched in September 2012, the HYIP brought together all of Hartlepool Borough Council’s youth employment initiatives and those of partners.
It was set up to promote collaborative working to improve the employability and entrepreneurial skills of young people and prepare them for the world of work.
The project has proved to be a huge success with Hartlepool’s youth unemployment rate currently standing at 4.3% after falling from 17% in 2012, a reduction of approximately 75%.
This is the largest reduction within the same time period of any local authority area in Great Britain.
Coun Kevin Cranney, chair of the council’s Regeneration Services Committee, said: “This year it is our third anniversary and, again, we have surpassed all expectations.
“Let’s not forget though that a key factor in the success of the HYIP is the continued hard work and commitment of the town’s young people who have embraced the project with great enthusiasm.”