Young people to be given ‘head start’ to gain employment

A new fund looking to tackle long term unemployment among 18-24 years olds will launch in March 2014.

Towards the end of 2013, Leeds City Region was awarded £4.6million from the Government to deliver the “18-24 Head Start” programme to support young people into employment.

Leeds City Council will receive £1.2million of this money to fund a local programme which will offer 800 young people aged 18-24 years, who are furthest from the labour market (and claiming jobseekers allowance for six months or more), the chance of a ‘head start’ into work through a supported work experience placement.

At a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board on Friday 14 February, members will be asked to agree the new programme and how this will be delivered.

Head Start will build on the success of other programmes in the city which have offered young people the chance of real work experience opportunities and building confidence and key employability skills.

Programmes such as the Youth Contract initiative providing support to young people aged 16-17 years old, not in education, training or employment and the Council’s Work@Leeds programme have offered plenty of opportunities for people seeking to enter the job market to improve and enhance their employability skills.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for leisure and skills said:

“Getting young people into work is a real priority for the council and it is great that we will be working with and supporting local businesses to ensure that young people can access new opportunities that will give them a new start.

“We have a number of very talented, job ready youngsters keen to get jobs, but in a market where there are at least four jobseekers to every vacancy it can be hard to find work without experience that demonstrates you have the ability to do the job.

“This new scheme will therefore allow us to continue to meet local business needs and offer unemployed young people, the additional help and support they may need”

Notes to editors:

The ‘Head Start’ placements will last up to eight weeks and include training and a guaranteed job interview. Each young person will also be entitled to a travel card of up to £80. Employers who take part in the scheme will be supported through an employer fee and the opportunity of drawing on the wage incentive after six months of sustained employment.

For media enquiries, please contact;

Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk