An innovative, paid work placement programme is growing from strength to strength with 79% of its latest intake of recruits securing permanent employment with local employers.

This September 14 recruits have graduated from the New Start programme, a scheme developed by northern housing association Karbon Homes which offers five-month, paid opportunities for local people in roles with a diverse range of employers in the region.

Designed to help its residents overcome barriers to getting into employment or changing career, and local employers to tackle recruitment and skills challenges, recruits and employers are both helped through the programme with ongoing support and guidance from Karbon’s Foundations for Life employability and skills coaches.

Karbon resident Olivia has completed a New Start placement with Muckle LLP, working as a Team Support Assistant. Olivia’s struggles with anxiety had been a barrier to her getting into work.

Olivia said: “Due to my anxiety, finding work previously had always been a challenge. My anxiety prevented me from going into further education, which really stunted my development and not having that step up has made it a lot more difficult.

“The New Start scheme really supported me with my anxiety because there was a safety net of support available if I needed it at any point. Since starting my confidence has definitely grown.

“I’ve really enjoyed the role and it’s given me lots of transferrable skills that I can use in and outside of the workplace. I’d definitely recommend New Start to others.

Nicola Leyden, Director of HR at Muckle LLP said: “For any business to grow and thrive, it’s important to invest in our region, that’s why we’re delighted to work in partnership with Karbon Homes and New Start. It’s a great way for us to tap into talent and give people, regardless of experience, the opportunity to take the next step in their career journey.”

Alongside Muckle LPP, other regional employer partners for the programme included Northumbrian Water, Maldron Hotels and North East TV and film casting agency NE14.TV

The programme has also supported a number of SME’s looking for sustainable growth, providing funding to cover the full salary cost of the placement for up to 30 hours for the five-month period.

Michelle Fortune, New Start Co-ordinator at Karbon Homes, said: “Helping our customers and communities to thrive is a key aim for Karbon and the New Start programme has played a key role in helping remove some of the barriers in the way of people accessing or progressing in employment. 

“There’s no better feeling than seeing recruits finish their placement with increased confidence and, for many, a permanent role to go on to. We’re proud to have worked with so many great employers through the programme, who share our vision for turning recruitment on its head, and it’s great to see them reaping the benefits of this unique concept as well.”

11 of the 14 recruits have secured permanent positions with their placement provider, and the remaining 3 are continuing to receive support from their employment coach and have other opportunities in the pipeline.