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On Course for Better Prospects

Gordon Austin and his nephew Michael White are on course for better prospects thanks to South Tyneside Council.

The pair have secured paid employment after improving their skills with training funded by the Council's Skills Service.

Gordon, 38, and Michael, 25, both have learning difficulties, and required additional support to prepare for the world of work.

They completed a Digital Confidence course delivered by Northern Rights, which specialises in helping people with challenges such as health problems or learning disabilities, into work.

The duo learned basic IT skills and had intensive one-to-one coaching to help create a CV and prepare for interviews.

Gordon, of Hebburn, is now working as a kitchen assistant at The Customs House. He said: "Previously, I was volunteering in charity shops, which I enjoyed but it is great to be earning money.

"The course was very helpful and made me feel more confident with using computers and applying for jobs.

"I really wanted to be a kitchen porter and I love my job at The Customs House, everyone is very friendly and I like being part of a team."

Michael, of Jarrow, has also stepped onto the first rung of the career ladder and now works part-time at Tesco.

He said: "Northern Rights organised me a two-week trial placement at Tesco where I could put into practice what I'd learned on the course.

"Then they found me a permanent job and it's great."

The Council's Skills Service offers a wide range of courses and supports around 3,000 people of different abilities and experience a year to get into work.

Cllr John Anglin, Lead Member for Regeneration and Economy, said; "It's fantastic that we've been able to support Gordon and Michael into getting work.

"I'm delighted that this course gave them the confidence and opened up the opportunities to allow them to access jobs.

"Equipping people with the skills to gain sustainable employment, no matter what barriers they may face, is one of our key priorities."


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