Job seekers in Middlesbrough are now able to apply for jobs further afield without the worry of travel costs.
Middlesbrough Council has joined forces with rail provider Northern Rail to provide them with free train travel to attend job interviews in the region.
The initiative – unveiled at last summer’s Middlesbrough Job Fair - is being administered by the Middlesbrough Community Learning Service, with 200 complimentary tickets available in the first phase.
These will be offered to Middlesbrough residents needing to attend an interview, training or voluntary opportunity (up to three tickets per person) and who travel via Northern train routes.
Talks are also ongoing with other operators to see if the scheme can be extended to even more routes in the future.
Councillor Mick Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member for Culture and Communities, said: “We’re fully committed to working to remove the barriers that prevent people from entering the world of work, and one of those barriers is travel.
“Someone from Middlesbrough may have been put off applying for a job in Darlington because of the cost of attending the interview – but thanks to this initiative by our partners Northern Rail, that’s no longer an issue.
“Job seekers can now apply for the job knowing their train fare to the interview is covered, and they will also get a feel for the regular commute should they be successful at interview.”
The free rail offer is open to all job seekers working with the Council to get back into work and applying via the Council’s Community Learning Service.
They will receive a pass permitting one return journey on dedicated Northern Rail services between their home and their interview location on the date of their interview. The free tickets must be arranged in advance with their Council key worker.
Northern Rail Regional Director Anna Weeks said: “We’re delighted to extend our job seekers scheme and partner with Middlesbrough Council.
“The job seekers partnership is a fantastic way to grow business and support people into jobs and allows them to try travelling by train before they progress into employment.
“We’re really excited about the modernisation improvements coming onto our trains and stations in the upcoming year and we’re looking forward to welcoming new commuters to experience these.”
For more information, call Barbara Smith at Middlesbrough Community Learning on 01642 811400 or email email@example.com.