Monday, July 15, 2024

Mayor kickstarts employment plan to create 20,000 jobs |

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West Midlands Mayor Richard Parker has unveiled a youth employment plan aimed at addressing the region’s challenge of youth unemployment.

It aims to create 20,000 new opportunities for young people across the region.

The initiative, introduced on a regional level to align with the national government’s youth guarantee, was announced at the Learning and Work Institutes’ Employment and Skills Convention held at Birmingham’s Eastside Rooms.

It includes expanding work experience placements, training positions and apprenticeships through collaboration with local businesses and partners and seeks to provide young people with guidance, support services and clear pathways into employment.

Youth unemployment in the West Midlands is notably higher than the national average, particularly in areas such as Walsall, Wolverhampton and Birmingham, where it exceeds double the national norm.

Key features of the initiative include sector-specific training tailored to the region’s fastest-growing sectors and green skills development.

It also includes support from work coaches for unemployed youth, fully-funded training up to level 3 to enhance job readiness, and access to comprehensive mental and physical health support, including counselling services.

Parker said: “It was the West Midlands that offered me my greatest chance to get on in life when aged 16 I left school, unsure of my future. I want the West Midlands to be the region that gives young people the best possible start in life, with good quality jobs, the support they need to feel ready for work and the ability to progress in their careers – this is why we are launching the initial phase of our West Midlands youth plan – our regional approach to delivering the national government’s youth guarantee.

“This plan will focus on skills and employment and will include work coach support, pre-employment training in growing sectors with a guaranteed interview, as well as fully funded training up to level three and access to debt and careers advice. I call upon businesses and learning providers in the region to continue their work with us to open up a further 20,000 new training or work placements.”

“Let’s work together to make the West Midlands a model for the nation by investing in our youth and therefore investing in our future. We are already supporting young unemployed people get into apprenticeships with our Path 2 Apprenticeship programme in which we have invested £7.5m to support 3,300 young people over three years.”

Jake Collins, a young learner, had the opportunity to meet the Mayor last week at the Adult Learning Awards. During their encounter, Collins shared his journey of transitioning into employment within the healthcare sector.

Despite facing challenges, including becoming a full-time carer for his mother at the age of 13, he persevered. His early responsibilities meant he missed out on formal education, leaving school with only one GCSE.

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