Trainee scheme backed

FIFTEEN young people will be given work placements after Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond approved a new apprenticeship scheme.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s new environmental apprenticeship project will see 18 year olds from town employed within the street cleansing and environmental teams at the council.

Officers say it will provide additional cover for the work already taking place in the neighbourhood services division.

Mayor Drummond described it as a “fantastic model” at a meeting of his regeneration and neighbourhoods portfolio.

The scheme is a partnership with Hartlepool College of Further Education and the apprentices will 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.

Regeneration officers say they are confident they can fill the 15 vacancies.

It comes at a time when Hartlepool’s youth unemployment rate is the third highest in the country.

Mayor Drummond said: “One of the things that came up at Cabinet recently when we were discussing these type of schemes was that it is really difficult to get placements.

“It looks like we are leading the way with this and maybe we can set up a model that other employers can take from because it is hugely beneficial.

“This is a fantastic model.”

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.

Patrick Wilson, the council’s employment development officer, said 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.

Now that Mayor Drummond has backed the project, it will 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.