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Joint effort creates jobs

A collaborative effort by Sunderland University, Monk- wearmouth College and the city's training and enterprise council has led to the creation of 25 jobs for local people near the university's new St Peter's campus.

The "St Peter's Opportunity Training" project (SPOT), was launched last year for tailormade training courses geared to potential jobs in catering, security, portering, cleaning and clerical posts.

Details of the free courses were circulated to nearby houses. Sixty-seven people enrolled and the 46 who completed the training were offered interviews.

Dr Anne Wright, the university's vice-chancellor was impressed by the high standard of those completing the course - "so much so that we are keen to keep in touch with those who did not succeed in getting a job this time, as no doubt there will be other vacancies to fill as more of the campus is built".

Mary Charlton, marketing manager of Monkwearmouth, a tertiary college with around 3,000 full-time and 7,000 part-time students, said the scheme had resulted in valuable spin-offs.

Recruiting local people "almost created our own neighbourhood watch service as well.

"And it helped to give them enough confidence to get through our doors. A lot more enrolled for other courses."

She is looking forward to developing future projects with the university, especially as it will benefit local people in an area of high unemployment - "the colliery has gone, the shipyard is going. There's now more interest in education so the college is franchising courses to community groups. Many people feel more at ease in their local library, school or village hall than in the college," she said.

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