New apprentice scheme planned

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond
Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond

FIFTEEN teenagers could benefit from a new apprenticeship scheme aimed at getting young people in to work if plans are given the green light.

Mayor Stuart Drummond is due to meet to discuss Hartlepool Borough Council’s new environmental apprenticeship project which could see 18-year-olds from town employed.

Civic chiefs say the work done by the apprentices will provide “additional capacity” to the council’s neighbourhood services division, working within the street cleansing and environmental teams.

The scheme is a partnership with Hartlepool College of Further Education and the apprentices would be employed through the college’s Flagship Training Solutions programme.

The total cost of delivering the 12-month project in town is £107,025 which will cover the costs for the apprentices wages, their training and mentoring support.

Mayor Drummond, portfolio holder for regeneration and neighbourhoods, will meet next week to discuss the project.

At a time when Hartlepool’s youth unemployment rate is the third highest in the country, officers say this project provides an opportunity to offer 15 young people aged 18 years an apprenticeship programme.

A report by Damien Wilson, assistant director of regeneration and planning, said: “If approved, the apprentices will be employed through Hartlepool College of Further Education’s Flagship Training Solutions and will adhere to their terms and conditions. However, each learner will be placed within the council for one year to enable them to complete their apprenticeship framework and will be directly supervised by the council’s neighbourhood services.”

Officers say Job Centre Plus will be the main referral agency and will work closely with the local authority to identify who is eligible to take part in the project.

Some work has already been carried out and as of November last year, 40 eligible teenagers had already been identified.

Mr Wilson added: “If this project is approved and is successful, there are opportunities for expanding this delivery model to help 18-24 year olds who are unemployed to enter into work.”

If approved the one-year project would start this month, and all of the 18-year-olds must be 26 weeks unemployed and claiming either Jobseekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance.

The project will be funded through the DWP Youth Contract Wage Incentive, Flexible Support Fund, Hartlepool College of Further Education, elected members ward budgets and Hartlepool Borough Council.

The regeneration and neighbourhoods portfolio will take place on Thursday, January 10, at 10am at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road.