New employability team breaking down barriers to work

Meet Bernicia’s newly formed team of employability experts spearheading our £2m investment to help people into work and access new opportunities.

Jackie Johnson, employability manager, heads up the new team of experienced industry professionals consisting of employability business partners Dionne Smith, Anthony Burdis and monitoring officer Amelia Lyall-Rollin.

The team will work with partners across the North East business and education sectors to build aspiration, increase confidence and provide access to training, skills and job opportunities.

Bernicia’s £2m pledge is a key part of its new four-year corporate strategy detailing how it will invest £210m into homes and communities.

The employability team will work with regional companies to ensure people have the ‘work ready skills’ they need to fill the job vacancies they have.

As well as supporting its tenants and wider communities, other key groups the team will be supporting are people not in education, employment or training, former armed forces staff, ex-offenders, people with special educational needs, people with health barriers, refugees and people who are homeless.

The team will also work closely with the Learning Hives established by charity Northern Learning Trust to help bring learning, skills and job opportunities direct to people in the communities they live in.

Jackie said: “Our corporate strategy sets out our intention to deliver our ambitious employability outcomes to our tenants, young people and wider communities.

“Our aim is to work with partners to deliver outcomes that bring people closer to the labour market. Our team has a wide and diverse range of experience, working with young people, our tenants and partners to get their desired outcomes.

“Our apprenticeships work is an important part of what we do, with Bernicia providing more than 50 apprenticeships from local schools over the past ten years in roles from plumbers and joiners to housing assistants and IT support.

“To get everyone we help a job is not realistic – for some people it can be about learning opportunities to help them get the maths and English qualifications they want to increase their employability.”

Anthony said: “We will use our knowledge and experience to help get people closer to the labour market, to get them ready for the next step whether that be an internship, placement, apprenticeship or full-time role.”

The employability team can be contacted at