COUNCILLORS have welcomed a European funding boost which will be used to prevent teenagers falling into unemployment.
Hartlepool Borough Council has secured £212,950 from the EU towards the European Commission Youth Guarantee project, which will be managed by the council’s economic regeneration team.
The aim of the scheme is to improve the “employability and entrepreneurial skills” of all young people so they are prepared for the world of work.
Officers will be working with 250 Year 11 pupils at risk of becoming NEET, which stands for Not in Education, Employment or Training, to enter into education, employment or training within four months of them leaving school.
Council officers say the project will start this month and run until September next year.
The funding boost was discussed recently by the council’s regeneration services committee, which is chaired by Labour councillor Robbie Payne.
A council report, which said the local authority would be the accountable body for the project, outlined the aims of the Youth Guarantee scheme.
It said: “To improve the employability and entrepreneurial skills of all young people so that they are prepared for the world of work by strengthening co-operation and increasing collaborative working between schools, career guidance services, voluntary and community sector organisations, employment services, colleges, work-based learning providers and employers.”
Coun Payne welcomed the news of the contract success and congratulated officers on winning the bid against competition from some of the most deprived regions across the EU.
Members of the committee also welcomed the news and congratulated officers on their successful European funding bid.
Councillors did question how the contract would be managed with the involvement of the community and voluntary sector and the business sector in Hartlepool.
Senior officers told the committee the local authority would be looking to partners to “deliver elements” of the contract such as the mentoring service.
In August 2012, the European Commission announced a multi-million pound call for proposals to develop a Youth Guarantee Scheme in local, regional or national areas where youth unemployment is above 22.7 per cent.
The council’s application was submitted to the European Commission in Brussels and the local authority has had confirmation of the successful grant.