Graduates of United 4 Employment find work

The United 4 Employment course has helped 11 participants improve their lives skills - and two of them into work

Course tutor Sarah Brown, left, and Lindsey Porter from Isos, right, with successful United 4 Employment participants David Taws and Ian Watt
Course tutor Sarah Brown, left, and Lindsey Porter from Isos, right, with successful United 4 Employment participants David Taws and Ian Watt

Big result as employability course graduates reach their goals

Skills, better health, qualifications, life-saving knowledge and jobs have all been gained by the graduates of a football-inspired employability course.

United 4 Employment is run jointly by the Newcastle United Foundation charity and social landlord Isos Housing.

Eleven participants have enjoyed sessions on fitness and health, nutrition and healthy eating, first aid and cooking on a budget, all aimed at making a difference to their lifestyle for the long term.

And two of them have already found work.

All the participants have not only benefitted from the 10-week course but will also receive another 10 weeks of support from the Newcastle United Foundation to help them find work.

Taking inspiration from the winning mentality needed to succeed in Premier League football, the U4E participants all put in the hours improving their skills – and getting their mentality right.

This was reflected in an impressive attendance rate for the course of 89%. The United 4 Employment course provides:

  • Qualifications.

  • A work placement for each participant, to get real experience.

  • Mock interviews to help participants prepare for the real thing.

  • Sport and nutrition sessions, to get participants fit for life and work.

Not only did the course get the participants on the road to a job, but everyone also received a pair of tickets to a home Newcastle United match and a home shirt as a reward for their efforts.

In total, the 11 participants in the United 4 Employment course, who come from from across Tyneside, County Durham and Northumberland, have gained around 70 qualifications between them.

Richie Mitchell, community investment manager at Isos, said: “I never grow tired of hearing the fantastic stories from our courses with the Newcastle United Foundation.

“Some of the feedback has been fantastic. This is a chance to affirm our commitment to this course, and to endorse the foundation staff who do a fantastic job.”

Sarah Brown, course tutor from the Newcastle United Foundation, added: “United 4 Employment is not just about the content of the sessions. The participants have all made friends, learned skills, gained qualifications, learned about interviews, met employers who could employ them in the future and, in two cases, got jobsThere is nothing they can’t achieve.”

David Taws, 35, has been hired by Newcastle City Council to work in its CityBuild department after a successful work placement during United 4 Employment.

He will be working towards a construction and civil engineering qualification, with two years of training, and the council says it has previously sponsored staff like David right through to degree level.

He said: “I will work on all council buildings and some owned by Your Homes Newcastle, learning about quantity surveying, and electrical and mechanical engineering, and I will attend Newcastle College on a Monday.

“I’ve been two years unemployed, including a period not being well. I got a lot of confidence from the United 4 Employment course. It made me realise that all the hard work I had done was worth it.

“The job has taken a while to sink in, but now I feel quite proud. It’s a good feeling.”

Ian Watt, 52, has picked up two new roles – firstly as a team leader with catering company Sodexo, where he will work at St James’ Park on match days.

And secondly, like David, he will be working with Newcastle City Council, where he will be shadowing tradesmen on repairs and refurbishment work.

He said: “I will be helping out with smaller jobs, fixing door handles, unblocking pipes, etc. I will be an extra pair of hands for them. This course has meant I’ve got back in the routine, getting up at a regular time, and now hopefully I will also be upgrading my skills.”

Before the course, Ian had been unemployed for three years having previously worked as a safety technician on cranes.

He said: “I took time out to look after my father, who was dying of cancer, and during that time my industry really changed. This course has upgraded my health and safety knowledge, environmental awareness, first aid.

“I’m grateful for the experience, for the chance. It’s given me refreshed hope that with all the skills I have, I can prove myself to an employer, and I have a much better chance of getting gainful employment.”

Very soon after completing the first aid element of United 4 Employment, Ian was called upon to put his first aid training into use. He was riding a 21 bus into Newcastle when an elderly lady had a seizure, and the bus driver asked if there was a first aider on board.

Ian said: “I was in the right place at the right time. The training just kicked in. We made sure she was OK, put her in the recovery position, got her temperature down, and sat with her until the ambulance arrived.””


David Whetstone
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Graeme Whitfield
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Mark Douglas
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