A young man from Stockton has grasped his chance to get involved with a new work experience opportunity over the Christmas period.
Daniel Hawkes, 18, from Newtown, is benefiting from support from the Youth Engagement and Support (YES) Project, a scheme operated by Stockton Council's Youth Direction team.
After leaving Grangefield School, Daniel successfully completed bricklaying courses at Stockton Riverside College.
But, after struggling to find work, he turned to The YES Project - a scheme that works intensively with young people to help move them forward toward learning, training and employment.
The programme offers guidance and support to young people who may face a variety of obstacles to gaining employment.
Through the STAR Project, an offshoot of the broader YES programme, Daniel was given the chance to gain experience as a lighting technician, working on Stockton Riverside College's festive production of Cinderella at ARC in Stockton.
Daniel said: "I was recommended to do this project as a chance to boost my chances of finding employment.
"All of the staff I've been working with have been very helpful and I am grateful for their time and effort."
Daniel is just one of more than 20 young people who have gained access to a work experience opportunity during recent weeks.
Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Ann McCoy, said: "This project is part of a programme of schemes we provide for young people to support them in improving their employment prospects.
"We are determined that young people should be given every possible opportunity to be the very best they can be in life.
"Projects such as these boost the confidence and self-esteem of those involved and help them progress toward a brighter future.
"I wish to offer Daniel, and all of the other young people accessing the project, my congratulations and best wishes for the future."
Stockton Riverside College's Director of Business Development, Michelle Elliott, said: "Gaining work experience is a valuable commodity to anyone looking to find employment, and as a college, we would always encourage employers, in a range of different sectors, to offer such opportunities to young people.
"By giving young people the chance to experience the working environment they can develop the skills that employers are looking for, such as good communications skills, team work and a strong work ethic."
Funded by Stockton Council and the European Social Fund, the project exists to provide opportunities for participation for young people aged from 14 to 24 who are not in education, employment or training.
For more information on Stockton Council's Youth Direction and their various participation programmes, please visit www.stockton.gov.uk/youthdirection or call 01642 677600.