An exciting new partnership has been formed between British Luxury brand Burberry and County Durham Community Foundation to continue their Learning Working Earning initiative in East Durham to progress young people into jobs. 

County Durham Community Foundation’s Learning Working Earning initiative was launched in March 2013 to help unemployed individuals throughout County Durham and Darlington gain work. The scheme enables individuals looking to take up an apprenticeship or work-based training, overcome financial barriers by providing access to grant funding, be it for transport, specialist clothing or equipment, childcare or very often, a percentage of their salary which means the employer can afford to take them on. 

The programme has achieved tremendous success, supporting almost 300 individuals gain employment to a total value of almost £1 million in grant-making. This is a significant achievement for an area with one of the highest levels of unemployment in the UK. 

The charity was delighted therefore to form this partnership with Burberry which is making the donation as part of its Festive campaign and its connection to Easington via the Billy Elliot film upon which it is based.

The funding is being provided via The Burberry Foundation, founded in 2008 and dedicated to support young people, by helping them to realise their full potential through education, training and work experience. An investment of £250,000 will potentially enable 75 or more individuals into employment.

Christopher Bailey, Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer said: “We feel very honoured to be able contribute to the charitable legacy of Billy Elliot which has achieved so much already. Through their work in the local area, Place2Be and the County Durham Community Foundation make a big difference to the lives of so many young people in Easington and the surrounding communities – it is a privilege to be able to support their work.”

Barbara Gubbins, Chief Executive of County Durham Community Foundation said: “We are thrilled that Burberry has agreed to become a stakeholder in our Learning Working Earning programme focusing on 16-25 year olds. Unemployment among young people is particularly high in this region, but even more so in East Durham. It is brilliant that such a high profile brand has been pro-active in seeking out projects in County Durham that will really make a difference to people’s lives. It is also exciting that they have chosen to work with a community foundation as we have local knowledge and special links to the community.”

Cllr Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: 
“Learning Working Earning has achieved fantastic results. We are very pleased that, as a result of this partnership, its work to get people back into work and training can now continue.”

Grahame Morris, MP for East Durham said: “I welcome this important investment into our young people in East Durham.
“The East Durham Learning Working Earning Programme will help young people to overcome the financial barriers when moving into employment, offering practical support to assist them gaining an apprenticeship or work-based learning.

I hope young people and businesses in East Durham will take the opportunity to access this funding to improve levels of employment, skills and training within East Durham.”