A donation from British luxury brand Burberry in 2015 to County Durham Community Foundation has created employment opportunities in East Durham.

As part of its 2015 Festive Campaign, Burberry paid tribute to the iconic BAFTA-winning British film Billy Elliot, whose storyline was set in Easington. The funding is being used to deliver County Durham Community Foundation’s Learning Working Earning apprenticeship scheme in East Durham, to progress young people into jobs.

Originally set up in 2013, Learning Working Earning is a bespoke scheme devised by County Durham Community Foundation to give long-term, unemployed individuals a route into apprenticeships or work-based learning by helping them with costs that would otherwise prevent them from taking up the offer.

In return for our support, the employers we work with give a minimum of a year’s commitment to employ, support and train grant recipients. British luxury brand Burberry teamed up with the Community Foundation to focus on East Durham after recognising the value of the programme.

Sam Miller, a current Learning Working Earning apprentice was awarded a grant of almost £2,500 to enable him to secure employment with Vapourlites Ltd in Peterlee along with Jamie Ferry who was awarded £3,062, whilst they both study towards an NVQ Level 2 in Warehousing and Storage.

Sam said: 
“I really like working here, everyone is very nice and there is nothing I don’t enjoy about the job. Without the support of this Learning Working Earning grant, I wouldn’t have been able to get this opportunity.”

Jamie said:
“I enjoy my job at Vapourlites and have gained a lot of confidence since I started my role, I am hoping with my commitment to work and new skills, I will hopefully be able to manage one of my own shops in the future.”

Lloyd Quinney, Managing Director from VapourLites commented:
“Sam and Jamie are both doing really well with their apprenticeship and we are hoping we will be able to offer them both permanent employment at the end of their 12 month scheme.”

After visiting Vapourlites, Margaret Vaughan, Chief Operating Officer at County Durham Community Foundation said:
“The funding from the Burberry Foundation was a fantastic boost to our Learning Working Earning scheme which has already enabled 300 individuals into jobs across County Durham & Darlington. We are delighted that we can currently focus our attention on East Durham to improve employment opportunities and encourage small businesses to take on apprentices in this way. Being able to support the employers as well as the individual can lead to long-term provision which ultimately benefits everyone – particularly the individual.”

There is still funding available for individuals living in East Durham who have a financial barrier to taking up an apprenticeship opportunity. Examples of support costs include: salaries, childcare, transport, equipment, training, clothing and other essential items. 

For more information go to http://www.cdcf.org.uk/apply-for-a-grant/grants-for-individuals/east-durham-learning-working-earning-programme-