Stephen Donaghy

Bright future for Stephen thanks to employment project

A project designed to help people in County Durham access training and find employment is celebrating its latest success story after matching a young apprentice with a local company.

Stephen Donaghy found himself unemployed after leaving school so decided to contact the Brighter Futures project, which provides help with finding jobs, as well as skills such as interview techniques and CV writing.

By working with local employers the project’s Michelle Graham was able to help 19-year-old Stephen secure an apprenticeship with Elvet Construction Consultants, where he is now learning new skills as a business administration apprentice.

Former St Bede’s pupil Stephen, of Consett, said: “After finishing my A levels I was keen to find an apprenticeship as I wanted to carry on learning while earning some money at the same time.

“I’d heard that Brighter Futures could help people looking for work so contacted Michelle and she was great - she knew Elvet were considering taking on an apprentice and was able to support me in putting my application together and preparing for the interview.

“I’m really enjoying the work so far and would definitely recommend anyone else wondering what to do after leaving school to think about an apprenticeship - for me it’s the best of both worlds.”

The Brighter Futures scheme is run by local housing association Derwentside Homes and funded by North East Procurement. Since it was established last year it has worked with more than 307 people, helping 257 access training courses and 85 into work.

Employment Initiatives Officer Michelle said: “The aim of Brighter Futures is to help local people back into work or training by whatever means possible, whether it’s boosting people’s confidence, giving them new skills such as computer training or showing them how to look for jobs.

“By working with local employers we can also help identify potential apprenticeship opportunities which are great for people like Stephen who are keen to work and train at the same time.”

Stephen is the first apprentice to be taken on by Stanley-based Elvet Construction Consultants, which provides professional surveying services for construction projects and has six full-time employees.

Director Stuart Fisher said: “We are a member of North East Procurement’s Consultants Framework and have also worked with Derwentside Homes on several projects so we were aware of Brighter Futures and the benefits it provides for local people looking for work.

“As a local business we were keen to do what we could to support the local economy. Taking on an apprentice means we can grow our business in a sustainable way and provide an opportunity for a local person to gain new skills and employment.

“Michelle supported us through the process and we’re really pleased to have Stephen on board - hopefully he will be the first apprentice of many.”

To find out more about Brighter Futures project please contact Michelle Graham on 0777 183 1733 or email

Our Partners

Top Ten Most Read