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College commissioned for scheme to tackle youth unemployment in West Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 11:00 19 January 2019

West Suffolk College will deliver one of the schemes to tackle youth unemployment. Picture: GREGG BROWN

West Suffolk College will deliver one of the schemes to tackle youth unemployment. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Plans have been unveiled to offer dedicated support for unemployed young people in West Suffolk.

Councillor Lance Stanbury said the West Suffolk College scheme would help with young peoples' self esteem. Picture: FOREST HEATH DISTRICT COUNCILCouncillor Lance Stanbury said the West Suffolk College scheme would help with young peoples' self esteem. Picture: FOREST HEATH DISTRICT COUNCIL

A report published ahead of the joint executive meeting on Tuesday revealed a two-pronged approach including a new scheme at West Suffolk College and an extension of an existing project from March this year.

The college is set to be commissioned to deliver a ‘one step closer’ scheme which would identify youngsters who are NEET (not in education, employment or training) and provide them with targeted coaching in skills and behaviour that will help them into work, apprenticeships or additional education.

Solutions will be developed based on the individual needs of youngsters, the report said, and is set to be delivered by three ‘talent coaches’ across West Suffolk. Funding of £160,000 per year over two years will be earmarked for the scheme.

Councillor Lance Stanbury, cabinet member for planning and growth at Forest Heath District Council said: “By working with the college, West Suffolk councils aim to reach more than 125 young people who are not in education, employment of training in the first year of this project.

Susan Glossop welcomed the news of the projects. Picture: GREGG BROWNSusan Glossop welcomed the news of the projects. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“By providing them with targeted coaching, we believe we can give them the confidence, the self-esteem to return to education, employment or training.

“Not only will that benefit their lives as individuals, but it will also form part of our ongoing work with local businesses trying to address the skills gap.”

The plan also aims to contribute £40,000 per year to an existing project in Haverhill, which is run by One Haverhill and the town council with a youth skills manager.

It will continue to support businesses in developing apprenticeships, help support youngsters with work experience, CV writing and job applications, as well as school visits and training courses.

Laraine Moody said it would make a real difference to young people in West Suffolk. Picture: DAVID GARRADLaraine Moody said it would make a real difference to young people in West Suffolk. Picture: DAVID GARRAD

Councillor Susan Glossop, cabinet member for planning and growth at St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: “We know sectors such as construction, hospitality, health and social care are crying out for new people and by working with these young people we can help to address some of these issues.

“We already helped initiate a successful coaching scheme in Haverhill led by youth skills manager Karen Chapple and this funding will not only allow that to continue, but for similar work to take place across the rest of West Suffolk.”

The schemes come after Suffolk Public Sector Leaders group – a gathering of all council leaders and chief executives – pledged £200,000 from pooled business rates to tackle youth unemployment across Suffolk, following the closure of the MyGo centre in Ipswich.

Laraine Moody, vice principal employer engagement at West Suffolk 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 Council on this exciting and innovation project that will make a real difference to the young people of this area.”

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