The North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) is working with housing providers to give people a new start in life.

Opportunities for training, further education and work experience are offered to tenants as part of the North of Tyne Working Homes Programme.

The ground-breaking scheme to level up opportunity for people in Newcastle Northumberland and North Tyneside is being delivered in partnership with the three local authorities, housing associations, and providers of adult education in the North of Tyne.

North of Tyne Cabinet Member for Employability and Inclusion and Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council Cllr Joyce McCarty said: “Our Working Homes programme recognises that by working in partnership with housing providers we can deliver a range of support which is flexible and tailored to individual need.

“This can include formal and informal learning, skills development, job preparation, job brokerage and help to manage tenancies. Once people enter work, support from an employment coach will continue to help them stay in work and progress.

“It’s a long-term approach focussed on improving people’s lives, that is central to our ambition to build an inclusive economy in the North of Tyne.”

As part of the NTCA Working Homes Programme, North East England and Yorkshire housing association Karbon Homes has a dedicated ‘Foundations for Life’ service, to help residents of Karbon properties find employment and develop their skills.

They worked with business connectors FIRST to offer a free seven-week course of one-to-one online coaching, self-learning and group Zoom sessions to their tenants. Successful applicants gain a Level 1 qualification in Understanding Enterprise upon completion of the course.

Funded by £50,000 from the North of Tyne Adult Education Budget, the courses are free for anybody eligible to apply and will be starting regularly until September this year.

Karbon Homes Foundations for Life manager Suzanne Jobson said working with FIRST had helped her team refer clients for specialist advice on self-employment.

She said: “We do a lot of work on employability, and helping our customers get ready for the job market, but launching your own small business is a very specialist area.

“That’s why it’s been so great to work with FIRST, so those customers who want to pursue this avenue can get the best possible advice. It’s about getting people across the line who would love to start their own business, but are not sure what is involved.”

FIRST Managing Director Charlotte Windebank said: “Now more than ever, leadership and progression skills are vital for our communities and economy to recover from the pandemic. I am so proud of what the learners and the FIRST team have achieved so far.”

The FIRST learning offer has been designed by North East entrepreneurial experts, linking with the local ecosystem and EntreComp – the European framework for entrepreneurial skills.

It includes:

  • An optional work placement within a start-up or micro business to apply new skills in a real work environment.
  • Guided networking activities so learners can build contacts within the business community whilst being supported by FIRST staff.
  • Qualifications to help them progress.
  • Progression opportunities to further qualifications.

As well as the qualification, all learners receive 121 progression sessions with connections to local enterprise agencies, networking events and industry contacts to ensure legacy and next steps are achievable.

The next course is due to commence around 12 April with regular start dates until the autumn.

To apply, check out the FIRST website Between April 2019 to March 2022 Working Homes will support at least 1,650 of our residents.

Our partnerships for Working Homes :

  • Bernicia Homes
  • Karbon Homes
  • Newcastle Futures Ltd
  • North Tyneside Housing
  • Northern Learning Trust
  • Northumberland County Council Housing Services, and
  • Your Homes Newcastle.

Northumberland County Council acts as Lead Accountable Body for North of Tyne Working Homes on behalf of the NTCA. North of Tyne Working Homes is part funded by the European Social Fund as part of the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme.