Hundreds of residents across County Durham will be helped to find work through a new regional employability partnership.

Durham Employment Connections (DEC) has formed to generate more collaborative working across employment and skills services. DEC will support the local business community by addressing labour and skills shortages and supporting local residents into roles.

DEC is a partnership between Employability Durham, Business Durham, Durham Works and regional housing associations Livin, believe housing and Karbon Homes.

Suzanne Jobson, Foundations for Life Manager at Karbon Homes, which is the overall lead deliverer of the project, said: “We are delighted to be launching this fantastic and vital employability partnership.

“Currently businesses are struggling to find suitable candidates for their job opportunities, with a lack of candidates and insufficient skills both being prevalent. DEC will create a link between employability networks and the local business network, helping them to gain a better understanding of the needs of the sector and raising awareness of the variety of employability support available in the community.

“With this we will develop the skills of local residents to help them become job ready and meet the recruitment needs of local businesses.”

Funded by Durham County Council’s Area Action Partnership, DEC has already set up an engaged and active ‘Durham Employability Forum’ regularly bringing together over 40 employment and skills organisations from across the county focusing on key themes such as the cost of living crisis, women in the workplace, labour shortages in key industries, inclusion in the workplace and more

DEC will also be organising and supporting local job fairs and events across the county; focusing on the local needs of businesses and residents. This co-ordinated activity kicked off with their first event in Bishop Auckland in late June, hosted by Livin Housing.

Helen Johnson, Livin Futures Manager said: “We are committed to supporting our tenants and customers in work and training and were delighted to see over 300 in attendance at this event. Working in a partnership such as this means we can widen the opportunities available for those in our communities.

“We’ll work together to begin contacting anyone who registered on the day to offer support and work training to our communities and tenants”

More events are planned throughout the summer and autumn, including business breakfast events, ‘spotlights on’ sector themes for forums and targeted recruitment events.

Hazel Sykes, Business Engagement and Account Manager at Business Durham, said: “Events like these provide a seamless connection between businesses looking for talent, the individuals looking for opportunities and all the wrap around support that is available to help our residents to access the opportunities available.  I would encourage any business who is looking to grow their workforce to take part in the events that will be taking place in their area.”

If you’re a local business, and want to know how you can be involved to support your recruitment needs and challenges; visit their LinkedIn page at or get in touch with