Ruth Mitchell

County Durham trial for new recruitment agency

A new social enterprise is to help smaller businesses in County Durham to find and keep new staff by targeting people who find it most difficult to get work. Regional development agency One NorthEast has approved plans for the County Durham Economic Partnership to allocate £850,000 for the trial of a new type of recruitment agency.

The Acumen agency will source vacancies with smaller firms in County Durham, helping employers to understand and overcome any issues they may have in taking on new staff. On the other hand, the agency will offer training and support for people who face the toughest challenges in getting into a job – such as older people who may not have up to date skills, carers and younger people who have never worked – specifically so that they can take up opportunities with smaller businesses in the area.

Robin Beveridge, One NorthEast’s Economic Inclusion manager, said: “The region’s aim is to have about another 80,000 people in our workforce employed by 2016, because increasing employment levels is the only way for the North East to really see long-term economic growth. This is a chance to explore ways of combining the opportunities offered by County Durham’s smaller enterprises, with the ongoing task of enabling more people to move into sustainable jobs – particularly when they have been out of work for a long time.”

It is hoped the trial will help 500 people into work, and it will link closely with other agencies such as Jobcentre Plus and Business Link North East, in both making and taking referrals. The agency will employ 11 staff and plans to have bases in Bishop Auckland, Chester-Le-Street and Seaham.

For more information on Acumen, contact Sonia Graham on 0191 5188810 or

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