AN innovative apprenticeship scheme is helping to tackle the youth unemployment problem in Hartlepool after openings were created for 11 young people.
The 12-month project is a partnership between Hartlepool Borough Council, Hartlepool College of Further Education (HCFE), Jobcentre Plus, the National Apprenticeship Service and the Thirteen Group, and follows on from a similar project last year.
It is part of the Hartlepool Youth Investment Project (HYIP) – a town-wide partnership of key public and private sector organisations helping to give young people the skills and experience to prepare them for the world of work.
Over the past two years the HYIP has helped drive down youth unemployment in Hartlepool from 17 per cent to 8.3 per cent – the lowest level for more than 20 years.
The young people were aged between 19-24 when they started the apprenticeship and had been out of work for 26 weeks or more.
They are now employed by HCFE Flagship Training Solutions and are supported by contributions from councillors’ individual ward budgets, in-kind support from council staff, the Department for Work and Pensions’ Youth Wage Incentive and the Thirteen Group.
They are working with the council’s street cleansing and environmental teams, performing tasks over and above the work already carried out by the council staff, and their training includes an NVQ Level 2 in cleaning and environmental services.
One of the apprentices, Adam Rose, who had been out of work for a year, said: “I am really enjoying the apprenticeship, working outside and looking after the environment. I’m getting a lot of good training and experience which will help me in the future.”
Councillor Robbie Payne, chairman of the council’s Regeneration Services Committee, said: “Tackling unemployment – particularly among our young people – remains a top priority for the council, working together with its many partners.
“We are delighted by the massive progress which has been made in reducing youth unemployment in Hartlepool, but more still needs to be done and we won’t rest on our laurels.
“We will continue to invest in our young people – they are the future of our town.”
Andrew Steel, assistant principal of Hartlepool College of Further Education, added: “The college is the largest provider of apprenticeships in the Tees Valley and has had a very positive partnership with Hartlepool council in developing the skills of young people from the town and surrounding areas for many years.
“This innovative programme gives young people the opportunity to develop the skills required by employers and will ultimately improve their chances and opportunities to gain long-term sustainable employment.”
As part of the HYIP, the council remains keen to speak to employers who are interested in offering young people work experience, work trials, volunteering placements, employment and apprenticeships.
Any employers interested in offering placements as part of the HYIP should contact Caron Auckland on 07831675973 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org