Unemployment is a huge issue here in the UK with millions out of work. Where many put this down to a lack of jobs other say it is a lack of support, with many not given the opportunity or the resources to start a career. However, it does seem that things are on the up with a new Northumberland academy making efforts to get unemployed drivers and call centre workers to work. This scheme has been formed by Blueline Taxis and Northumberland College in a mission to teach people the skills needed to become professionals. The £500,000 Blueline Training Academy offers 9 study units over a 3-week period delivered by Blueline staff and tutors from Northumberland College, covering customer service, dealing with difficult situations and route knowledge. They students also study English and maths while a partnership with the Business Factory gives course attendees advice and information on grants, book-keeping and other areas of practical support. A true success Charlotte Attwell, employability skills leader at Northumberland College, said: “This has been a great success. The college prides itself on developing bespoke training to exactly match employers’ needs. What is most satisfying about our partnership with Blueline is the number of unemployed people we have helped gain new skills and qualifications and get off benefits into jobs.” Speeding up the training process for such individuals allowed them to be accredited for their licences within four months with one candidate saying: “I needed to get back into work, better myself and provide for my family” “I thought the course would be hard and that it would take a long time to learn all the information needed to pass.” Ian Shanks managing director of the Blueline Group, said: “By working with Northumberland College we have been able to create a learning and skills pathway that puts local people who want to work on the road to a new career.” David Lishman, employer adviser at Jobcentre Plus, added: “The job centre has enjoyed a very fruitful relationship with Blueline and Northumberland College for two years now, enabling many customers to move forward into the world of work, either as a taxi driver or within the Blueline call centre.” We at High Gear were overjoyed to hear the news of this scheme, encouraging anyone to join this flourishing industry.