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North Star welcomes residents of Darlington Housing Association - Find out more

Alex Cummins and Leigh Stobbs

Local housing association, North Star Housing Group, is helping young people across the North East find jobs through their New Directions Youth Employment Initiative.

New Directions is a European funded project designed to support young people aged 15-29 years into employment, education and training, providing support with CV building, interview preparation and providing funding where necessary.

Alex Cummins, 21, from Darlington, was struggling to find employment and had almost lost hope until he met with North Star’s Youth Employment team. Alex said: “I had been looking to get into work for a while and not had any luck, but I met with North Star at a job search session at the Evolution Centre in Darlington and they helped me apply for a few jobs there. I was lucky enough to get an interview after that, but I had never had one before and was really worried about it.

“The staff are fantastic; really supportive and understanding of everything. They treated me as an individual, I wasn’t just a number or anything to them; I really mattered and they did everything they could to help me. They coached me to get me ready for my interview and they even provided funding so I could get some interview clothes. I can’t thank them enough because without them I don’t think I would have had the confidence and the skills to get any job, never mind my dream job. I love working with computers and I will be inputting data and working for a leading technology company, the job is perfect for me!”

Alex secured work with Capita, a leading provider of business process management, and will be working in the Pensions department as an Administrator.

Leigh Stobbs, Youth Employment Initiative Recruiter for North Star, supported Alex throughout his job search and is proud of his success. “Alex has progressed massively since we first met him. He was very nervous and didn’t expect to be able to get anything, but we offered him lots of support and guidance to ensure he had the confidence to progress.

“I was the first person Alex called when he found out he got the job, and that was brilliant, to know the support that we had given him had not only helped him secure employment, but it had a real impact on him. We’re still here to support Alex, and we have used our Flexible Funding to buy him work shoes and clothes ready for his start date. He was extremely grateful for this, and of all the help we gave him along the way, but the best thing is that he’s got a job doing something he loves.