Dozens of young people in Northumberland gaining skills for a green future

Young people in Northumberland are gaining hands-on training and experience at two sites near Morpeth that will set them up for a future career in the North East’s growing ‘green economy’.

By Joshua Wright
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 3:23 pm
The Groundwork North East & Cumbria Kickstart trainees.
The Groundwork North East & Cumbria Kickstart trainees.

So far, more than 50 young people have taken part in training and practical experience Pegswood Moor Country Park and Pegswood Community Woods as part of the Green Futures programme.

The programme is led by Groundwork North East & Cumbria and is part-funded by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Local Growth Fund VCSE Capital Grant programme, which aims to help communities across the region recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rebecca Wilson, community project manager, said: “We want to support people aged 16 to 24 to get a taster of what it’s like to work in the green economy.”

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Of the 50 volunteers, five are completing six-month Kickstart placements, which are part of a new Government scheme to give young people paid experience of the workplace.

Rebecca added: “They’re gaining skills that could help them go into jobs like landscaping or conservation, and our Kickstart trainees are completing a number of formal qualifications like chainsaw handling, as well as informal training on hedge-laying, tree-planting, using hand tools and many other techniques that we use to enhance the parks and woods for people and for wildlife.”

One of the Kickstart trainees, Ethan Monaghan from Pegswood, said: "Green Futures is a very good opportunity that's helped me to appreciate the world of work a bit more and it's really nice to know the work I'm doing is helping the local environment.”

As well as the hands-on experience, the trainees are meeting people from a range of offshore and renewable energy businesses and learning about opportunities and careers in the sector.

Helen Golightly, chief executive of the North East LEP, said: “Green Futures is giving young people in our region a step up and increasing their confidence when it comes to beginning their careers and at the same time, it’s safeguarding and improving some of the outside spaces which are so valuable to the community.”

People aged 16 to 24 can still apply to volunteer with Green Futures by emailing [email protected]

Find out about other projects funded by the Local Growth Fund VCSE Capital Grant programme at www.northeastlep.co.uk.