College launch initiative to tackle youth unemployment

West Suffolk College has launched an initiative to tackle youth unemployment Picture: DANNY HEWITT

West Suffolk College has launched an initiative to tackle youth unemployment Picture: DANNY HEWITT - Credit: Archant

An initiative designed to help reduce youth unemployment throughout the region has been launched by West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds.

Part-funded and commissioned by west Suffolk councils, One Step Closer has been created to identify and support individuals in west Suffolk, who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

The college will employ three new talent coaches to work closely with young people to provide them with full, comprehensive development and training that will prepare them for employment and any further education.

The coaches will also liaise as necessary, with local voluntary and community organisations who can provide specific support.

The aim of the new initiative is to create a talent pool of job-ready applicants which West Suffolk College will promote as potential apprentices or trainees across its employer network.

Laraine Moody, vice-principal of employer engagement at the college, said: “This bespoke talent matching service will make a significant positive impact on the success of individuals, participation in apprenticeships, social mobility and subsequently the productivity of the local economy.

“We are delighted to be working with west Suffolk councils on this exciting and innovative project that will make a real difference to the young people of this region.”

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Lance Stanbury, cabinet member for planning and growth at Forest Heath District Council, said: “Business sectors across west Suffolk including construction, hospitality, engineering and manufacturing, health and social care are all crying out for new people with the right skills.

“One Step Closer is about us investing in success of both the individual and local businesses.

“It represents another example of how the west Suffolk councils are working closely with both education and business sectors to empower young people on the start of their careers.

“In so doing we are helping close the skill gap to the benefit of our local businesses and the long term success of the wider UK economy.”

One Step Closer has been co-funded by west Suffolk councils, Suffolk County Council and Suffolk public sector leaders.

The college plan to host a One Step Closer event in conjunction with the council this summer which will bring employers, coaches and the young people together.

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