A brand-new course aims to celebrate the history and heritage of Bishop Auckland and support those who were unemployed during the pandemic.
The course, called “My Chance, My Future” was launched by Bishop Auckland College and aims to boost employment in the area through arts and heritage.
The 12-week course, which is now open for enrolment, is due to start in September and ends in December.
It will be funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds.
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 history show Kynren since it started in 2016.
The show celebrates the history of Bishop Auckland and the North East.
Mr Laverick 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 emphasised the importance of people becoming involved in historic projects in the area, as well as employment in the hospitality sector.
He said: “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 putting itself back on the map.”
The course will also feature employability skills such as CV and confidence building, interview techniques and awareness of employment opportunities in the area.
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 it has been timed well due to the pandemic.
“The bid for the course was put in a few 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,” said Ms Jones.