Youngsters in Hartlepool joined forces as they took part in a project aimed to boost their job hopes.
Nine young men signed up for Armed Forces Employability Pathways (AFEP) – a six-week programme run by the Army and the Department for Work and Pensions.
The programme is supported by Hartlepool Council and Hartlepool College of Further Education, and aims to help unemployed young people aged 18 to 35 gain skills and work experience to strengthen their CV.
The free course included a five-day residential course at Catterick Garrison, featuring practical courses such as vehicle repairs and welding, as well as team tasks to help build communication and other skills.
They also took part in a two-week self-marketing and enterprise course at Hartlepool College of Further Education, and a three-week work experience placement with firms and organisations including Bridgman IBC, Hartlepool Council, Hartlepool College of FE and NDC Opening Doors.
The youngsters – Mark Herbert, Andrew Flanagan, Karl Blair, Carl Rayner, Stephen O’Keefe, Jonathan Marriott, Arron McKie, Jake McLeod and Peter Harker – were all offered the option of a career in the army
Lt Col Andy Black, 4th Infantry Brigade’s senior employment engagement officer and lead on the AFEP programme, said: “This strong partnership of local organisations and companies helps young people gain the essential work skills and values which employers are looking for.
“This is reinforced by the sense of discipline and respect for others, which is a key part of army training.”
Coun Allan Barclay, Hartlepool Council’s Armed Forces Champion, added: “We are very proud of our young people in Hartlepool and working with our partners we are doing everything we can to help them gain the skills and experience to forge a rewarding career.
“These nine young men have done outstandingly well on the course and I hope that employers will now step up to the mark and offer them employment.”