A new charity, Blyth Tall Ship’s is one of the recipients of Northumberland County Council’s Community Chest project receiving a grant of £4,680 to teach unemployed young people of Blyth skills in the renewable, engineering and ship building industries.
The charity which is based at a restored historic workshop at the Quayside offers vulnerable young people the opportunity to gain practical skills by running boat building and restoration skills experiences leading to full engineering apprenticeships.
Clive Gray, project manager of Blyth Tall Ships, said: “This funding has given added opportunity for the unemployed, untrained youths of Blyth to gain worthwhile engineering skills which will help them to gain employment in the future.
The initiative has been very successful proving to give children, teenagers, and adult students, the inspiration and tools to evoke a positive change in their attitude toward work.”
The workshop is in full operation and is successfully running its NVQ 1 courses with all courses up-to-date over-subscribed with an average 95% satisfaction score. With two remaining course left this year, requests for further add on modules are being received from the majority of students.
The initiative is a positive step in job creation for the area, which struggles with a history of youth unemployment, by offering hands on experience in the effort to boost the creation of apprenticeships.
This level of professionalism surrounding the project is evident with 30 skilled adult volunteers offering their services and experience and the number continues to grow. Relationships with the offshore and engineering industry are good with employers impressed with the standard of training.
Gray, added, “We are delighted to report several young people have gained jobs and apprenticeships from their experience here including one bright young man gaining an apprenticeship with the maintenance department of Northumberland County Council.”
The charity is inspired by the 1819 discovery of the Antarctic landmass by Captain William Smith, an adventure which saw him build a ship in Blyth and trade in South America. A voyage which Mr Gray hopes to recreate in 2019 by building a sea worthy modern replica with crew’s of trained young people from Northumberland.
Gray added: “We want to expand the range of courses we run, delivering qualifications in full-blown boat-building, metal work, port operations and welding.”
Roger Styring, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council said:
“We are delighted to have been able to offer financial support to such a worthwhile local cause that inspires the young people to get involved in the development of skills that will inevitably help their future career prospects.”
The funding has also allowed the charity to offer taster sessions to school children with hands on elements such as construction and boat-building techniques. This has been welcomed with tremendous interest with a session at Blyth Academy produced 20 young people interested in a full course.