YOUNG people who have been unemployed or disengaged with education or training are being targeted with the launch of a unique new programme.

Talent Match, part of the Big Lottery Fund, is running programmes throughout the North East. In East Durham the programme will use the power of sport and social activities to connect with and motivate 18-24 year-olds who have been out of work or training for 12 months or longer.

Delivered by East Durham Business Service (EDBS) in conjunction with GlobalSport Academy, the programme lasts for six weeks and offers a mix of indoor and outdoor activities to improve participants’ team building skills and ability to be socially inclusive with the aim of each person gaining employment.

Simon Naisbett from EDBS is managing the programme, which will run for the remainder of 2015.

He said: “We know there’s a big problem in this area with the number of young people who are unemployed or disengaged and this programme will tackle that by using activities which will interest and motivate them, but at the same time offer them a real chance of finding work at the end of it.

“Working in partnership with GlobalSport Academy, we’ll be offering people who sign up the chance to play sports and computer games and take part in team building activities to initially increase their confidence and give them the skills employers look for.

“After that we will look at training, qualifications and work experience placements which will get them ready for the world of work.

“I must stress Talent Match is targeted specifically at those extremely hard to reach young people who have been out of employment, education or training for 12 months or more.

“It is a different approach to engaging with them but we’re confident it will work.”

Talent Match, which is open to people from across County Durham, will offer participants the chance to complete NCFE Level 1 Sports Coaching qualification and receive support in Personnel Development.

GlobalSport Academy, based in Peterlee, currently deliver accredited and non-accredited courses in sport and development to young people who are disengaging from mainstream schools.

Setup in February 2013, the company is run by Phil Brown, Managing Director, and Angela Rice, Commercial Director.

Phil said: “We are passionate about motivating young people and see sport as the perfect tool to do that. We want to build up their confidence and self-belief so that at the end of the programme they are in a much stronger position to pursue a path into further education, employment or training.”