A man is hoping to get on his bike and gear up for a potential career thanks to an employment partnership.
Darren Blake, 21, from Blyth, is all geared up for work in 2015 thanks to the joint efforts of Northumberland Adult Learning Service, a North Shields cycle dealership and Ingeus, which delivers the government’s Work Programme throughout the region.
Darren has just won a nationally-advertised cycle mechanics’ apprenticeship and is now planning to gain recognised City & Guilds qualifications in cycle maintenance and engineering.
At the same time he is putting the skills to good use at the Royal Quays Cycle Centre in North Shields.
“This apprenticeship is everything I ever wanted,” he said.
“I’m learning a lot about cycles, how to build them and how to keep them in tip-top condition. As well as that, I am developing customer service skills including everything I need to work in a busy cycle dealership.
“This time next year I will have qualifications and experience of real value.”
Store manager Richard McLean added: “It’s really great to be able to help Darren, and before him, Jonny Lyon, and to give them the support they need to start their careers.
“It makes sense to employ apprentices in our business because the knowledge needed for cycle maintenance is changing all the time.
“It’s good for us and our customers to have people who have been taught so well.”
Ingeus’s Deborah Mahoney said: “Through Ingeus and Northumberland’s Adult Learning Programme, and with the support of employers such as the Royal Quays Cycle Centre, we’re opening doors for many jobseekers in this region.
“Darren has a great attitude and will succeed. He just needed pointing in the right direction and we’re confident he’s now on the road to a successful career.”