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Business & Economy

North East BIC wins three bids to increase North-East employment

The North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) has won a contract to help people from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds find employment.

The new contract, known as LA7, will see them deliver training programmes in Sunderland, Newcastle and North Tyneside – three of the seven local authority locations in the North East Local Enterprise Partnership area.

In a joint initiative with the North Tyneside BME Women’s Network and the charity, United Community Action (UCA), the BIC is aiming to recruit 20 people from BME backgrounds in each of the three areas and the contract will be delivered under the LA7 community grant – funded by the European Social Fund.

The programmes that the organisations are recruiting for include English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses that will focus on helping individuals with little to no knowledge of the English language find employment, as well as those who have a greater understanding of the language.

BIC Social Enterprise Manager, Kevin Marquis, said: “We went for this project because the 60 people we recruit will benefit massively from the training. We need to recognise and value the skills that people with BME backgrounds bring to our communities.

“But these are people who may need support to integrate in our society and a part of that integration is being able to find employment, which can also involve going self-employed, launching a social enterprise or volunteering.

“Sarah Ahmadi from the UCA – who will deliver some of the training – is an example of a person who arrived in the UK from Afghanistan and couldn’t speak English, but fifteen years on, has gone on to build her own businesses and contribute to our region’s community.

“And it’s stories like Sarah’s that will inspire other refugees to make use of the support available.”

A further round of training will see the BIC’s partners including Sarah lead ‘local living’ and ‘local life’ courses which will aim to help people understand British values, cultural and local issues, with the aim of giving attendees an understanding of how to get into the job market.

On the back of this support, the BIC will provide four hours of one-to-one support to attendees so they can learn how to make the most of opportunities and set goals going forward.

To speak to the BIC about these courses, please call 0191 516 6111.