The DurhamWorks employer grant has helped over 50 small businesses employ and support young people in the past 12 months.

DurhamWorks is a partnership between Durham County Council and seven organisations, working together to support young people, and to help them create their future.

DurhamWorks offers:
• One-to-one support with a dedicated member of the team.
• Help to progress into work, volunteering, further learning, or training.
• Opportunities to gain skills and qualifications.
• Support with benefits, housing, and childcare arrangements.

The DurhamWorks grant is designed to help small employers create jobs for unemployed 16-to-24-year-olds who are currently on DurhamWorks.

The grant lasts for six months and offers up to £2,500 towards salary costs. It cannot be used to support apprenticeships.

Lots of small employers have already taken up the offer and have received support to help them to find the right young person for their business.

Sharon Davis from Tiny Treasures, a childcare and play service based in Seaham, was able to employ an additional member of staff with help from the scheme.

Due to the nature of the business, Sharon required someone with a level 3 qualification and who could drive. Although this was challenging, DurhamWorks managed to match a candidate. It has helped Sharon to continue growing her business.

Sharon said: “My business has benefited from young people being part of our workforce and I truly believe it has developed in ways that would not have been possible without them.”

The grant also helped Graham at Aztec Interiors in Consett to grow his company. The DurhamWorks grant helped relieve the financial burden of taking on a new employee.

Graham added: “The employee has been able to secure employment in an area that he was interested in and this has motivated him to continue in his employment journey. I would definitely recommend the grant to other employers.”

As well as providing funding, the DurhamWorks programme supports the new employee and employer throughout the whole process.

Carole from Consett Pets and Aquatics Centre contacted DurhamWorks after a busy spell and required more staff to help out.

Carole said: “Having dealt with DurhamWorks before, I contacted them, and they helped me access an employer grant to enable me to take another employee on.

“The process was simple, quick and efficient and I was lucky enough to employ someone who already had some experience to bring to the shop, but who was also keen to undertake more training to widen their skills base.”

Employing a young person has many potential benefits for small business; providing a cost-effective way to address any future skill needs as well as introducing fresh ideas and enthusiasm to an existing workforce.

Jonathan Tait, from Certax Accounting in Newton Aycliffe, said: “Access to the grant was really easy and helped us to employ a university student and gave us the time to train them.”

If you are a small business, the DurhamWorks grant could help you employ talented young people who can add value to your company.

DurhamWorks’s dedicated team offers support to ensure you find the right young person for your business.

To find out how your organisation could benefit from funding and support through DurhamWorks, call 03000 262 930, email DWgrant@durham.gov.uk or visit durhamworks.info/employers.