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Kickstart for funeral care career

Kickstart for funeral care career
28 January 2022

A young Darlington woman has been helped to kickstart her career in funeral care thanks to the efforts of the council’s Youth Employment Initiative (*YEI) team.

The team, who are the top performing YEI team in the Tees Valley, began working with Anja Rusk last December, just before her nineteenth birthday and were surprised to hear that she was passionate about working in the funeral care industry. Keen to help her realise her ambitions, the team contacted Co-op Funeral Services in Darlington who were happy to help.

Initial conversations led to the YEI team arranging a six month placement with the Co-op for Anja through the **Kickstart scheme. One month into her placement and Anja is doing well and looking to learn to drive to help put her in the best position possible to continue her career with the Co-op.

Steven Winterburn, YEI Coordinator for the council, said:

“Well done to Anja for taking steps to fulfil her career ambitions. This case study, carried out to tight deadlines, is testament to the YEI team, in particular Sean, her tutor, who works tirelessly to get young people from the borough into work.”

Councillor Alan Marshall, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for Economy added:

“This is a wonderful example of how our YEI team can help young people to take the first steps on their career path. This story is a little bit unusual and shows how the team treats every young person as an individual, helping them to achieve their ambitions and reach their full potential. No wonder our YEI team is the best in the Tess Valley!”

Anja said:

“This is my dream job and has only been made possible with the help of the YEI team, they have been beyond helpful and opened doors for me that were closed due to my lack of experience. I had attended funerals in the past and always felt that I wanted to help but couldn’t do anything. Now I feel that I can and feel really fulfilled.

“Everyone here at the Co-op has been so helpful, friendly and supportive; I’m learning lots of different skills, it is a dream come true.”

Graham Honeywood, Co-op Funeral Services Darlington, said:

“We are delighted to help Anja in her chosen career. She is doing really well and has a real passion and drive for this work and is learning lots of valuable life skills. We are happy to help and provide this opportunity for her to achieve her full potential.”

The council’s YEI team works with numerous employers, including the Co-op, to arrange Kickstart opportunities for young people. They work with people aged 16-29 looking for employment in Darlington and, In the last four months, have helped almost 100 hundred young people move into a Kickstart opportunity and a further 50 young people into other work or training opportunities.

The team can be contacted at 156 Northgate, Darlington, DL1 1QU. Mobile:  07966 347401   VOIP:  01325 978250(Option 3)

Work:  01325 405898, email: [email protected]

* YEI is a Tees Valley project funded by The European Social Fund (ESF) and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) with partners across the whole of Tees Valley.

** Kickstart is a scheme introduced by central government at the same time as furlough to fund six months of wages (25 hours per week) for a new employee aged under 25.  It is overseen by DWP. The greatest number of those made redundant during furlough were aged under 25.  The scheme ended for employers at the end of 2021, with jobs able to start up to 31/03/2022.



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