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Newcastle United Foundation hand laptops to disadvantaged young adults struggling to stay connected

Disadvantaged young adults keen to enter the world of work with support from Newcastle United Foundation are being given the IT equipment they need to explore employment, training and educational opportunities in the North East.

Ten young people engaging with the Foundation’s NE1 Works employability programme struggled to continue building on key skills or complete job applications without access to a computer at home during lockdown.

Today, Foundation staff met with the group of 18 to 29-year-olds at St. James’ Park to hand out laptops provided by Newcastle City Council and the North of Tyne Combined Authority’s (NTCA) Digital Inclusion Fund.

The distribution of IT equipment comes as the Foundation prepares for construction work to begin on NUCASTLE – its new, state-of-the-art community facility championing excellence in education, employment, and physical and mental wellbeing.

Newcastle United Foundation received a £2.6 million grant from the NTCA last year to transform the way young people transition from education to employment through the charity’s NU Futures initiative.

Once complete, thousands of schoolchildren and hundreds of young people can freely access high-tech digital hubs and innovative classrooms and meeting spaces, equipping them with the opportunities to become the next generation of skilled workers in the region.

Dawn Barber, Newcastle United Foundation’s Business Network Manager, said: “We are thrilled to be giving our young participants the tools they need to stay connected and engaged at a time when jobs fairs, training opportunities and job applications are hosted online.

“Thanks to Newcastle City Council and the NTCA, this group will now be able to access our regular NE1 Works sessions online where we continue to support young adults into work at an incredibly challenging time for young people.”

Councillor Joyce McCarty, Cabinet Member for Employability and Inclusion at the North of Tyne Combined Authority and Deputy Leader at Newcastle City Council said: “Giving young people the tools and support to gain new skills has never been so important. Initiatives like this will make such a difference to young people and we were delighted to be able to provide laptops and connectivity, which for some will be life-changing.

“Through the North of Tyne Combined Authority’s Digital Inclusion Fund, we aim to support 1,200 digitally disadvantaged people in Newcastle alone, who because of COVID-19 have been unable to access skills or training, due to buildings being closed and the lack of face-to-face provision. Our work with the Newcastle United Foundation is one example how we are reaching these people and helping them to move closer to the world of work.

“As well is this initiative the SkillsHub matches local people to job opportunities and training, with many of their partners making referrals into the Digital Inclusion Fund for job seekers who are digitally excluded. As a SkillsHub partner the Newcastle United Foundation are just one of several SkillsHub employability partners who have received this much-needed IT equipment.

“The success of these schemes like this, would not be possible without partners and providers coming together. The NE1 Works employability programme will create a better future for young people and help us to shape a more skilled and inclusive economy.”

NE1 Works is a project part-funded by the European Union Social Fund, supporting young people who are not currently in education, employment or training.

Participants develop personal and social skills on the programme through one-to-one support, targeted employer events, personal development workshops, job search and CV writing, as well as work placements and volunteering.

For more information on Employability support with Newcastle United Foundation, visit our Careers and Training page.

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