Businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire are being offered a helping hand to take on disadvantaged young people for work placements.
The Leicester Jobs Fund is offering firms based in the city or county grants of up to £2,500 to support young people on a work placement of six months or more.
The scheme is designed to help young people, including those with disabilities, care leavers, ex-offenders or those with no education, employment or training (NEET) to get experience of work and develop the skills and confidence to help secure future employment.
The project has been formed with support and funding from various funding organisations, including Leicester City Council, the Prince’s Trust Talent Match project funded by the Big Lottery Fund, and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Fund (LLEP).
Leicester Jobs Fund is specifically looking for companies which can dedicate time or opportunities to people who are long-term unemployed, people with mental health issues or disabilities, ex-offenders and people who are, or have been, in care.
The total funding for the current scheme is over £330,000, and expected to be able to help about 100 people. The scheme will run until March 2019, or until all the funding has been allocated.
Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “I am pleased to be launching the Leicester Jobs Fund, which will help young people to get real skills and experience of the workplace, and a better chance of going on to future paid employment.”
“We are especially looking to help people who for whatever reason might find themselves up against difficulties in getting access to training or employment.”
“By offering companies some funding to take on young people for work placements of at least six months, we hope to give these people the chance both to learn new skills and make a valuable contribution to the businesses involved.”
A previous city council-run scheme, known as the Step-Up Project, helped 18 to 24-year-olds into work during 2014 -2016, and 80 per cent of those supported into paid employment remained off benefits six months later.
Leicester has seen a real reduction in youth unemployment with 885 young people (18-24 year olds) claiming Job Seekers Allowance currently compared to nearly 2,500 in 2014.
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