Ipswich is among the towns and cities set to benefit under an enterprise education project which has been awarded £1.5million from the Big Lottery Fund.

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Young Enterprise, the UK’s leading enterprise education charity, will bring business volunteers together with young people from disadvantaged communities through a range of hands-on enterprise programmes designed to help give them the confidence and ambition to succeed.

The “Be Enterprising, Be Successful” project will create opportunities for 16,000 young people from 10 areas around England, with Ipswich joined on the list by Bristol, Derby, Hackney, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northampton, Portsmouth and Wolverhampton.

It follows the launch by Young Enterprise last year of its “Save a Lost Generation” campaign to reduce youth unemployment in each of the ten towns by encouraging local employers and volunteers to offer their time, expertise and money to support enterprise initiatives in local comprehensive schools.

Through the programme of enterprise activities, led by volunteers from the business world, the initiative will improve the young peoples’ belief in what they can achieve, raise their aspirations and boost their employability skills.

The scheme is designed to show how sustained enterprise education can help young people in deprived areas boost their chances of staying in education or training and ultimately of landing a job.

Project leaders will monitor and evaluate the long-term impact by tracking the young people’s progress both during and beyond the life of the project.

Young Enterprise chief Executive Michael Mercieca said: “We at Young Enterprise are grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for giving us the chance to launch this extraordinarily important project.

“We believe it has the potential to transform the lives of millions. Too many young people leave school without the softer ‘employability’ skills such as teamwork, communication, persistence and resilience that employers are crying out for.

“This is a major factor in the continued significant differential between youth unemployment and headline unemployment. The “Be Enterprising, Be Successful” project will provide a ground-breaking model for a long-term solution.

“By working with schools for a sustained three year period and giving young people practical experience of business we will develop their employability skills and attitudes. In turn this will increase their chances of successfully entering the labour market or remaining in education and avoiding the terrible, lasting consequences of youth unemployment.”

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund England chairman, added: “There are a great number of bright and talented young people, who are ready and willing to work hard in order to lead successful and fulfilling lives.

“Sometimes they just need a little help along the way and someone to believe in them. With the extensive experience and great support they receive from their business volunteers, the Young Enterprise project can inspire thousands of young people to succeed in the world of work.”

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