A NEW project designed to stem what has been described as “a tragic waste of talent” by helping improve prospects for young unemployed people has seen 10 of its first batch of candidates land jobs.

The scheme to help local youngsters become “work ready” was launched in September, and is funded by St Helens Council and delivered by St Helens Chamber’s Starting Point education team.

It aims to support 140 local 16 to 18-year-olds who may otherwise not be considered for jobs, and allows them to prove the valuable contribution they can make to local businesses and secure paid apprenticeships.

James Curran, (17), from Sutton Leach, was one of the first people to complete the programme and gain employment as a business administration apprentice at the Valve Center on Parr Industrial Estate.

James said: “I originally started at college, but I wanted to get some real work experience, which is why I decided to apply for the programme.

“The three-week training programme helped me a lot with my confidence in talking to people.

“I also did some mock job interviews and they helped me to write a much better CV.

“The Chamber arranged for me to do a three-week work experience placement where I was doing some sales work.

“I really enjoyed it, so decided to apply for the position at the Valve Center.

“The work is really fast paced, and I like it.”

Jason Glover, general manager at the Valve Center, said: “We had reached the point where we needed an extra pair of hands to pick up the overflow of work.

“With the financial incentives available it made sense to employ an apprentice.”

Cllr Marie Rimmer, leader of St Helens Council, said: “Youth unemployment is a tragic waste of talent, and the council is committed to supporting young people into work and backing programmes like the Chamber’s helps us to achieve this.

“It’s great to see that only a few weeks into the programme so many young people have already found apprenticeships.

“Our thanks go out to all the local employers who have offered an opportunity for a young person in their business and given them the chance to show what an impact they can make.”


Tailored support for teenagers

OPEN days are held at the Chamber every month when young people aged 16 to 18 can meet with the Starting Point education team and find out about the programme and opportunities it provides.

The support provided is tailored to meet the needs of the individual, and can last from three to 12 weeks and include up to three weeks’ work experience.

Once the Chamber is confident the candidates are ready to go into the workplace they can apply for vacancies for an apprenticeship position with a local business.

The next open day takes place on Monday, November 26. Sessions start at 10am and 1pm.

To book a place call Lynne on 01744 742018. Further details are available on facebook.com/sthelenschamber