New plans to tackle youth unemployment in Hartlepool

(left-right) Carl Holliday, 19, Liam Wild, 20, and Anthony Marshall, 20.

(left-right) Carl Holliday, 19, Liam Wild, 20, and Anthony Marshall, 20.

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AN environmental apprenticeship project launched to tackle high levels of youth unemployment in Hartlepool is proving a big success.

Twenty one apprentices have been employed by Hartlepool College of Further Education (HCFE)’s Flagship Training Solutions.

They are working within the council’s street cleansing and environmental teams, with training including an NVQ level 2 in cleaning and environmental services.

The 12-month project is a partnership between Hartlepool Borough Council, HCFE, JobCentre Plus, National Apprenticeship Service and Housing Hartlepool, which ispart of The Vela Group.

And the young people are being financially supported through contributions from councillors’ individual ward budgets, in-kind support from council staff, the Department for Work and Pensions’ Youth Wage Incentive and Flexible Support Fund and The Vela Group.

One of the apprentices, 19-year-old Carl Holliday, said he was pleased to have joined the project and added: “I had been out of work for two years after leaving school. Now I am learning some great new skills and the whole project is really good.”

Liam Wild, 20, said: “I got my GCSEs and went to college where I got some sports qualifications. However, from August last year I found myself out of work. My Job Centre adviser phoned me up, said there was an open day for the apprenticeship project and asked if I would be interested. I went along and have never looked back since. It is great being able to work outdoors in the fresh air and learn new skills at the same time.”

Councillor Robbie Payne, chair of Hartlepool Council’s regeneration services committee, said: “Tackling joblessness, particularly amongst our young people, has to be one of our top priorities and I am delighted that this project is proving so successful. We need to give our young people hope for the future by equipping them with skills that will help them to find long-term, sustainable employment.”