Andrew uses his practical skills to make a better future for himself

When Andrew first visited Cornerstone’s joinery workshop he was an extremely disruptive school pupil. Now, after completing the DurhamWorks programme, he has been offered a paid apprenticeship with the charity.

Andrew found the classroom environment extremely challenging but enjoyed visits to Cornerstone’s joinery workshop, where the charity makes furniture to sell to the local community. Using measurements and discussing manufacturing processes helped him to improve his maths and English skills in a practical way, which was relevant to his woodwork projects.

Staff at Cornerstone’s quickly recognised that Andrew had great practical skills and worked well in groups. Andrew enjoyed working in a the workshop environment and his confidence grew as he learnt to produce different products.

When Andrew turned 16, he joined the Cornerstone DurhamWorks programme, which helps unemployed 16-24 year olds to get into work and training. Andrew has developed his joinery skills and can now make any of the furniture that the workshop sells. He’s also improved his maths and English to GCSE level, and gained the social and communication skills needed in a work-place.

Completing the DurhamWorks employability project allowed Andrew to prove that he was ready for an apprenticeship, as a committed, mature and responsible young man.

Phil Hardy, Operations Manager at Cornerstones told us “Andrew has shown excellent practical skills but has also developed a maturity and confidence in his work that has helped him teach younger people the skills he has gained. His concentration levels have raised as his interest and involvement in his tasks has grown.”

Andrew, who has now been offered a paid apprenticeship at the Cornerstone workshop said “I have really enjoyed the experience and feel that I have more confidence and future.”

If you’re unemployed and enjoy learning in a hands-on environment, contact Cornerstone directly on 01388 747 892 to find out how they can help you into work. Or, contact a DurhamWorks business advisor on 03000 292 930 or

Posted in Our Stories on Sep 13, 2017

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