STUDENTS have begun an adventure of a lifetime after work placements turned into fulltime jobs.
Level 3 outdoor leadership students from Darlington College secured places with specialist firm Outdoor Ambition and owner Lloyd Murray has now offered four of them employment.
The course specialises in a range of activities designed to hone leadership skills including abseiling, gorge walking, canoeing, mountain biking and map reading, preparing them for work in a growth industry.
Contracts were offered to Alfie Sharp, 18, of Shildon, Tom Balsillie, 19, of Darlington, Jake Fantarrow, 18, of Shildon, and Annalise Cowley, 19, of Darlington.
Outdoor Ambition activity manager David Fisher said: “It’s great for us having Darlington College on our doorstep. The students are really good with excellent skillsets and a willingness to keep learning. This means we can trust them to do whatever is needed because they already have good problem-solving and social skills.”
Darlington College programme leader Richard Longstaff said the pandemic and lockdown had placed a great deal of emphasis on the benefits to physical and mental health of being active outdoors so there were more people wanting to learn the skills to do this safely.
“The employment placements provide an ideal opportunity for the students to apply what they have learnt at college in a real work setting. To be then offered employment at the end of it is an amazing bonus and shows the benefits of our courses in preparing young people for the world of work.
“It also gives them access to a range of national governing body qualifications and means they can work in a career that they really enjoy.”
Annalise said: “I took my A Levels at school but it was a struggle as I wasn’t that interested in what I was learning. Then I came to Darlington College and that changed. I absolutely loved it. My attendance was 100 per cent and I have gained a distinction*.
“I knew I wanted to do something outdoors as I’ve always loved the Lakes and hiking. Now I know it is definitely the career for me.”