Hartlepool leaders of a £20million project to tackle youth unemployment in the Tees Valley say they are well on course to help 6,000 young people find work.
Hartlepool Borough Council is the lead organisation for the Tees Valley Youth Employment Initiative (YEI).
This is unprecedented in size and scale for the Tees ValleyPatrick Wilson, Hartlepool Borough Council
Project leaders told a council meeting that the Pathways and Routeways programmes of the YEI have a target to support about 6,600 people aged 16-29, who are unemployed and not in training education, by July 2018.
Programme manager Patrick Wilson, of Hartlepool council, said to date, almost 2,000 young learners have signed up to the programmes since launching last April.
He told the council’s Regeneration Services Committee: “We’re dealing with a significant number of young people across the Tees Valley.
“We’re making real headway already on the Pathways programme.
“We’re hitting on nearly 2,000 learners on project and also the learners who have gone on the programme are progressing.”
Hartlepool council agreed to be the lead authority for the five Tees Valley councils and secured £10.9million of European Union funding which was matched by the Tees Valley European Social Fund.
Both the Routeways and Pathways programmes will support a total of 6,615 young people with 2,940 or 44% progressing into education, employment, training or self-employment, including apprenticeships and traineeships.
There are 28 delivery partners signed up to the scheme including Hartlepool NDC Trust, Cleveland Fire Authority, The Prince’s Trust and Middlesbrough Football Club.
Between October 2015 and September 2016, the two programmes have spent almost £2million on delivering the initiative.
Mr Wilson added: “This is unprecedented in size and scale for the Tees Valley.
“The number of young people on the programmes so far is a wonderful achievement for us.
“The amount of investment to tackle youth unemployment has been absolutely fabulous.
“A lot of the partners are working really hard to deliver some really good projects.”
He told councillors there had been a delay in the Department of Work and Pensions making the payments but said the results of the programme would become clear in six months time.
Councillor Kevin Cranny, chair of Regeneration Services, praised the efforts of staff adding: “Myself and the chief executive Gill Alexander were invited to London to give a presentation because of the effective partnerships and what we are doing here.”