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The Skill Mill: A Story of Passion, Partnership, and Possibilities

By Linzie Pentleton, Founding Director of The Skill Mill.

I remember back in 2014 being asked by a senior manager to go along to a steering group meeting for an initiative called the Skill Mill to represent Northumbrian Water. It was described to me as a initiative with the potential to help with reducing flooding as well as a development opportunity. Development Opportunity always makes me think what am I being asked to do now! So as you can imagine I attended the first meeting with a little bit of scepticism but then I left feeling inspired by the passion, the possibilities, the partnership working but mainly the commitment and enthusiasm of those involved. But it was more than that what really sold it to me was the young people just listening to them share their stories and turning their lives around was a very humbling experience and I just wanted to help in whatever way I could.

Fast forward 10 years and I am one of the founding directors and chair of the board. We have had some great successes the reoffending rate, the ability to diversify and two queens awards for enterprise. There has also been some very challenging and upsetting times where you just want to do what's right for these young people to give them a fighting chance. I hope in another 10 years' time I will be reflecting back on 20 years of the Skill Mill as we continue to go from strength to strength.


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