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Young people thriving in employment thanks to Newcastle United Foundation’s community partnership with Newcastle Building Society

Dozens of young people at the start of their careers in a range of industries and key worker roles are being celebrated this week by Newcastle United Foundation and Newcastle Building Society.

Working together as community partners since July 2020, the two organisations provide innovative opportunities and support tools to help teenagers and young adults access employment, training or education.

To mark National Careers Week (March 1 – March 6), the official charity arm of Newcastle United and Newcastle Building Society are sharing the remarkable journey of one participant who has overcome the odds to achieve his potential.

James suffered a life-altering brain injury as a teenager and lost all sense of independence. Unemployed for nine years, James’ self-confidence hit an all-time low and he felt his career dreams of working in biomedicine were out of reach.

After finding the Foundation’s NU Futures team, James began rebuilding his confidence and was supported with one-to-one sessions and group workshops to refine his personal and social skills, interview techniques and CV writing.

This week, James starts working in his dream job as a healthcare science associate, helping to process up to 80,000 Covid-19 tests a day in Gateshead’s Baltic Park integrated Covid hub.

“In spring 2020, I became close to entering employment, but the first lockdown meant the process couldn’t continue and it hit me quite hard,” James said. “It knocked my confidence again. But the Foundation team were there to support me.

“In lockdown, the Foundation and Newcastle Building Society held a series of really useful and inspirational workshops online. They helped me to believe in myself again and working with these kind of people has improved my skills, my employability and kept me motivated.

“I had nine years of unemployment after my brain injury, but after falling in with the Foundation, just eight months on and I’ve landed my dream job as a healthcare science associate.”

“That means everything to me – because of generous organisations like them and Newcastle Building Society, I’ve gone from unemployed to everything I’ve achieved now. It’s made all in the difference in my life.”

Newcastle Building Society became Regional Community Partners of the Foundation last year, investing £1.1m as part of its ongoing multi million pound commitment to make a lasting contribution and provide support to communities in the North East, North Yorkshire and Cumbria.

The six-year partnership, which allows the Society to play its role in helping the region recover from Covid-19 will also support the Foundation’s ambition to provide a state-of-the-art community hub to the west of Newcastle city centre, offering an inclusive and accessible facility for all.

NUCASTLE powered by Newcastle Building Society is in construction on the site of the former Murray House Recreational Centre and is expected to open its doors in spring 2022.

Sarah Medcalf, Deputy Head of Newcastle United Foundation, said: “We are thrilled to see so many positive outcomes for young people in our region accessing employability support with us and Newcastle Building Society.

“James is just one of the incredible participants our teams mentor and support through their journey to employment, further training or education opportunities and is a fantastic role model for other young adults who may be doubting themselves or what they can achieve.”

Newcastle United Foundation offer a range of employability support for young people aged 18 to 29 who are not currently in employment, education or training, alongside the building society.

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.

Kirsten Lightfoot, Head of People Development at Newcastle Building Society, said: “James’ story shows just how valuable the work of Newcastle United Foundation is and we’re thrilled to have been a small part of his incredible journey.

“His resilience and willingness to learn is an inspiration and we’re delighted he’s secured his dream job. We look forward to helping many other young people in the region through this partnership.”

For more information on employability support with Newcastle United Foundation and Newcastle Building Society, visit our Careers and Training page. Alternatively, find out more about the partnership by visiting

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