A boost for employment in Hartlepool thanks to £750,000 scheme

Kevin Cranney
Kevin Cranney

DOZENS of young people have been helped into employment thanks to a major new initiative.

The Government’s Flexible Support Fund (FSF) was a one-year £750,000 scheme involving Hartlepool Borough Council and four other councils across the Tees Valley.

The scheme aimed to get 400 people, the majority aged between 18 and 24, into employment and the final figure was 451, with 89 of those coming from Hartlepool.

Latest figures show the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Hartlepool fell in June to 4,353 compared to 4,657 at the end of March. But youth unemployment remains a particular problem and Hartlepool has recently been rated third highest in the country.

The scheme saw local authorities fund partnerships with hundreds of employers and encourage them to take on new apprenticeships and included placements with Hartlepool Borough Council’s neighbourhood services division, working within the street cleansing and environmental teams.

Damien Wilson, the council’s assistant director of regeneration, said: “The targets were well exceeded.”

He added: “It is worth noting that of the 89 Hartlepool residents that entered into employment, 65 per cent still remained in employment beyond 13-weeks.

“This level of sustainability was achieved through the in-work mentoring support provided by the Flexible Support Fund contract officer, who worked closely with both the employer and the employee to maintain an individual’s work placement.”

Of the 89 town residents involved in the scheme, 56 of them were aged between 18 and 24.

Councillors on the regeneration services committee welcomed the report at a recent council meeting.

Labour councillor Kevin Cranney said: “This shows that Hartlepool is punching above its weight.

“It is excellent the retention was so high.”

Coun Cranney added that the council department was doing an excellent job.

Labour councillor Robbie Payne, chairman of the regeneration committee, said Hartlepool Council does an excellent job with funding schemes like this in competition with the private sector.

Mr Wilson added: “We have the track record and have been delivering schemes like this for many years.”