Talent Match North East gets funding extension

Our pioneering programme Talent Match North East programme, which has so far helped more than 1000 young people into jobs across the North East, has had its funding extended for a further twelve months, following four years of strong job outcomes and a major impact on reducing youth unemployment.

Talent Match North East (TMNE), which is delivered by us with a range of partners, has just had funding agreed by the Big Lottery Fund to extend the programme until the end of 2019. Originally scheduled to end this December, the programme extension will now allow us and our partners to support a further 300 young people to find work in 2019.

TMNE works with young people aged 18-24 who currently aren’t in education, employment or training, supporting them to realise their potential and move towards work. Of the 1000 young people whom the programme has so far supported into work, around 700 are still working in the same job six months later, one of the highest job sustainment rates in the country.

Announcing the extension, Sean Duffy, Chief Executive of the Wise Group, said, ‘Talent Match North East is a pioneering programme that puts young people front and centre both in designing and delivering the service – a major contributor to its success. By listening to and learning from young people, together we’ve been able to achieve incredible results in terms of employment and job sustainment rates, working with more than 2500 young people so far to help them realise their potential and talents.

“Led by the Wise Group, and delivered with a range of terrific partners, TMNE is one of the top performing Talent Match programmes in the country. When the Talent Match programme started in the North East in 2014, youth unemployment was 26% and by last year it had fallen to 16%. That said, youth unemployment across the region still remains much higher than the average rate and we are committed to working with our partners and with the Big Lottery Fund to help address that, and to give as many young people as we can the chance to flourish.

“It’s a privilege now to be able to continue to support the North East’s young people for a further twelve months. We’re delighted to extend our partnership with the Big Lottery Fund and are now keen to get cracking, with our delivery partners, to build on our first four years of delivery.’

Scott Hignett, Head of Funding for Talent Match at the Big Lottery Fund said: “We are delighted to be able to extend the programme delivery within the North East through our Talent Match programme. This agreed extension will enable them to consolidate on the great work they have done so far, working with young people to help them develop solutions to tackle the barriers they are facing”.

The next phase of TMNE delivery will see five new Youth Coaches recruited to work one-to-one with young people, building their confidence and boost their job prospects. Working closely with employers will also be a key programme focus for 2019, to ensure greater job opportunities, work experience and in-work support.

One example of how Talent Match North East helps young people to turn their lives around is Alex Leigh, who earlier this year picked up a TMNE Outstanding Achievement Award.

When he joined the Talent Match programme, Alex, 25, from North Tyneside was homeless and dealing with anxiety and depression. Now, after intensive support from his youth coach who worked hard to improve his skills and build his confidence, he works as a kitchen assistant at Slaley Hall Hotel and is in training for his dream role as a chef.

Alex’s journey, supported every step of the way by the Talent Match programme and key partner Newcastle United Foundation, has taken him from living in temporary accommodation to living on site at Slaley Hall, learning more about the catering profession every day. With TMNE’s support, Alex volunteered at a café before securing the role at Slaley Hall, building his skills, confidence and CV – a journey typical of the TMNE approach to tailoring the programme to young people’s individual needs and ambitions.

In 2019, thanks to the funding extension from the Big Lottery Fund, TMNE will work in Sunderland, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Northumberland.