A CLEANING firm has become the first business in the region to take advantage of a scheme that aims to help unemployed people gain qualifications and, ultimately, jobs.

MJF Cleaning Services enlisted the help of fellow Darlington-based environmental services training business Nordic Pioneer to fill its demand for new team members.

MJF is the first company to use the newly-launched Nordic Facilities Management Academy (FMA), which has been developed to help unemployed people gain entry level qualifications.

The cleaning services operator is undergoing a sharp rise in demand and so needed to find a training provider that could cater for its specific needs.

Nordic and MJF are now jointly advertising for candidates to enrol onto the bespoke training programme, having also planned joint awareness day presentations to outline the opportunities that potentially await candidates at the end of the course.

MJF has provided Nordic with the site equipment, plant and chemicals that the successful candidates would use in a live situation, while Nordic trainers have also received training.

On the final day of the course, candidates are given the opportunity of a formal interview and work trial, with a view to receiving a contract of employment.

Once employed, the staff will also be enrolled onto an NVQ Qualification, which will also be delivered in the work place by Nordic.

Barry Sleightholme, business development director of MJF Cleaning, said: “Since our partnership with Nordic FMA began, the support that we've received from the company has been invaluable.

“When we first discussed the potential of developing a bespoke training programme for potential new staff, we were impressed by Nordic's genuine approach to preparing candidates for employment.

“The five candidates who have already been successful in securing employment with us have been working very hard, becoming team players and excellent ambassadors of Nordic Pioneer.”