New apprentice Cameron Southworth and Charlie Wright from Trades4Care.

A pioneering programme which provides work experience opportunities for young people interested in a career in painting and decorating has created its first full time apprenticeships.

Trades4Care (@Trades4C) pairs students from Bishop Auckland College (@bishopcollege) with qualified tradespersons to work on maintenance projects at healthcare, education and community venues as part of a wider life skills and employability programme.

The innovative Community Interest Company has already completed refurbishments at venues including Raff Yard House at Raby Castle, West Lodge Care Home in Crook, Butterwick Hospice in Bishop Auckland and Stainton Village Hall in Barnard Castle.

Directors of Trades4Care Andrew Coxon, Charlie Wright and Deborah Jenkins have now hired 18-year-old Cameron Southworth as their first apprentice, after her successful work placement which included projects at Raff Yard House, Heighton and Bishopton primary schools and Stanhope Village Hall.

Other projects the former Wolsingham School pupil, from Tow Law, worked on during the summer included Stainton Village Hall and the Auckland Youth and Community Centre.

Charlie said:

“From day one Cameron really got what Trades4Care is all about. She immediately grasped our vision and community ethos and this shone through her work and the rapport she had with local residents and staff at the many different places her work placement took her to. We were delighted to offer Cameron the job!”

Meanwhile Trades4Care’s lead sub-contractor Nigel Stevens has taken on Bishop Auckland College student Alex Pickering, 18, as his first apprentice, after he impressed on placement.

Cameron, who met Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison and Lord Lieutenant of County Durham Sue Snowdon - and did a live interview with GB News - during a busy summer with Trades4Care, said:

“I really enjoyed the painting and decorating course at the college and the work placements gave me a real insight into the work and what was required.

“Gaining the apprenticeship with Trades4Care is amazing and I’m really looking forward to supporting college students this year when they join us on their work experience.” Charlie said: “Myself, Deborah and Andrew were all in agreement that Cameron would be offered the role of our very first apprentice on the back of a superb few months with us on these projects.

“She demonstrates initiative and a strong work ethic, is respectful, willing to learn, has good handwritten work and practical skills, and can be relied upon. Cameron was the standout candidate for the apprenticeship role. Nigel’s appointment of Alex Pickering as his first apprentice after working with us this year is also great news.”

Michelle Andelin, Learning Area Manager for Construction and Motor Vehicle at Bishop Auckland College, added:

‘‘Trades4Care have been giving our construction students invaluable work experience on a wide range of projects over the past 18 months, and this partnership has now led to the first full time apprenticeships. Huge credit goes to the Trades4Care team and Cameron and Alex for all their hard work; it’s a fantastic success story.”

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