A brand-new programme aims to celebrate the history and heritage of Bishop Auckland, in County Durham, and support those who were unemployed during the pandemic.
The course, called “My Chance, My Future,” has been launched by Bishop Auckland College and aims to boost employment in the area through arts and heritage.
Course coordinator, Leanne Jones, said: “The course is built around local heritage as well as employment.
“The idea is to bring the two together and discover what people have on their local doorstep, such as Auckland Castle and the Locomotion Museum.”
Martin Laverick has volunteered for the Bishop Auckland-based show Kynren since it started in 2016, which celebrates the history and heritage of the town and its surrounding areas.
Mr Laverick feels it is important for people to be educated on the town’s past.
He said: “Kynren is a good showcase for local heritage as it has a local, national and international following.
“It shows great British events in history and how the North East has a key part to play in them but also how world events have affected the area.”
Mr Laverick outlined the economic impact that Bishop Auckland’s historic attractions have had in recent years.
“Although Kynren itself is not a large employer in the local area, the draw of tourism has proven to impact local employment in bars, hotels, restaurants and shops.
“With the Auckland Project, which owns the Spanish Gallery, Mining Art Gallery, and the Weardale Railway, Bishop Auckland is slowly but surely putting itself back on the map.”
The 12-week course, which is now open for enrolment, starts in September and ends in December.
Funding will be provided by the European Structural and Investment Funds, according to the college’s website.
The programme will also feature employment skills such as CV building and interview preparation.
Ms Jones said: “The main aims are to build up a person’s individual skills, and that will be different for each individual who enrolls in the program, as they all want to get something different out of it.”
According to Ms Jones, the bid for the course was put forward some years ago, but she believes it has been timed well due to the pandemic.
“The bid for the course was put in a couple of years ago and it takes time for it to be processed.
“I don’t have the figures now, but I am aware that unemployment has increased due to Covid-19 and redundancies being made.”