Housing association Bernicia is pledging an extra £2m to help people into work as part of increased investment into North East communities.

A new employability team at Bernicia will work with schools, employers and support agencies to support and encourage people into sustainable employment.

The team will be helping people to develop their job ready skills and career aspirations. It will also help take pressure off employers by supporting their new recruits in the crucial early stages of their employment.

Partnerships with other delivery organisations will help tackle a wide range of issues, like helping those furthest from the job market onto the jobs ladder.

Bernicia has a long history of successfully helping people into work. In addition to its award-winning Learning Hives and apprenticeship programmes, the housing association provides funding to a range of people and organisations though its Community Investment Fund and charitable Bernicia Foundation. This new £2m pledge is extra funding to provide even greater support to the North East.

The funding will be invested into communities over the next four years as part of several new commitments within Bernicia’s ‘Housing People, Helping People’ corporate strategy.

The new strategy sets out how it will invest hundreds of millions of pounds into its existing 14,000 homes, alongside building hundreds of new properties to tackle the urgent need for quality affordable housing.

John Johnston, Bernicia Chief Executive, said: “We are pledging significant additional resources to support our communities – building aspiration, increasing confidence, providing training, skills and job opportunities.

“Our employability programme will be focused on meeting those objectives by providing expert support and guidance, with the aim of helping new entrants to the workplace, or those returning to employment, to build a successful career and improve their own quality of life and help strengthen communities.

“Working with regional companies, we know the importance they attach to finding employees who are work ready, with the technical and softer life skills they need to build a successful career.

“As a major North East employer and social housing landlord, we recognise the skills capacity and influence we have to help change people’s lives for the better.”