A teenage dad has taken the first steps towards a brighter future for himself and his family thanks to a new pilot apprenticeship scheme.
Durham County Council’s public health and economic regeneration departments are working together on the pilot which can give financial support and advice to local firms who offer an apprenticeship to teenage parents from County Durham. The Teenage Parent Apprenticeship Programme means employers can access up to £4,500 towards the apprentice’s wages with contributions also being made towards travelling and childcare costs to give young people the best chance of starting a career.
James Beal, a 17-year-old dad from School Aycliffe, has been one of the first to benefit by being helped to secure an Electro-Mechanical apprenticeship with DNV GL at the company’s Flow Centre at Chilton. DNV GL, a world-leading independent advisor to the oil and gas industry, is supporting the initiative which will allow them to take on more apprentices in the area. James is also receiving help towards his travelling costs and equipment needed for his college work to help him complete his course.
Cllr Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “Apprenticeships are a key route for helping more people get into long-term jobs. With youth unemployment an issue in the county it’s vital that the council continues to support the next generation into work, helping to grow the economy and prospects of the entire county.”
Cllr Lucy Hovvels, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for adult and health services, said: “Coping with life’s ups and downs is not always easy and we all need support to manage difficult times. It is important that if young people do become parents, they get the support they need to give their children the best start in life and contribute towards a successful future for their family.”
Dave Sheppard, Flow Centre general manager at DNV GL, said: “James is really keen to learn and has shown a mature and ambitious attitude towards the company and the scheme.” Teenage parents and employers can find out more by contacting the council’s employability team on 03000 262010.

school aycliffe teenage dad