More than 1,000 young people have already signed up to a £17 million project designed to develop their skills, increase opportunities and help them into work.
In the past few months hundreds of 16 to 24-year-olds living in County Durham, who are not in education, employment or training, have joined the DurhamWorks programme.
Cllr Ossie Johnson, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “This is a fantastic start to a project that, by the end of 2018, will see improvements not only to the immediate but the longer-term economic opportunities and career prospects of almost 6,000 young people across the county.”
According to the latest figures almost one in seven of all 16-24 year olds living in the county are not in employment, education or training.
The DurhamWorks project brings together 17 organisations, including the council, voluntary and community sector, private training providers and a college.
It has been funded with £12.78m from the European Council’s Youth Employment Initiative and £4.26m in match funding, with the aim of helping 5,830 young people progress into work, training, education or volunteering by summer 2018.
Among the first of those to receive help have been a group of nine young people who spent three days working with Amacus and athlete mentors Jenna Dowson and Amy Hughes from the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.
Jenna said: “I’ve got the best job in the world. To give back and inspire young people to fulfil their potential is so rewarding. They can learn key skills that are transferable in all walks of life.”