St Helens Chamber in drive to reduce number of young unemployed

St Helens Star: Chamber in drive to reduce number of young unemployed Chamber in drive to reduce number of young unemployed

A DRIVE to reduce numbers of unemployed young people will see St Helens Chamber set a challenge of finding jobs and apprenticeships for 365 young people in 2014. The business network has already written to their 1,100 members urging them to pledge new jobs for 16 to 24 year olds.

The campaign – effectively trying to find a new role for each day of the year – includes a promise to provide grants which can cover half of an employee’s wages in the first year and apprenticeship training.

Forty vacancies are lined up for the new year. Youth unemployment reached a 16-year high 18 months ago when more than 2,000 people in the 18-24 age bracket were claiming jobseeker’s allowance. Analysis by education specialists Ambitious Minds suggested in 2012, the town had the ninth highest leap in youth unemployment during the double dip recession.

That number has fallen to about 1,400 but finding youngsters good jobs, with prospects and training remains a priority for business and community leaders.

Kath Boullen, chief executive of St Helens Chamber, said: “Youth unemployment continues to worry many of us as we think about the long-term future of our borough.

“In 2011 we launched our ‘100 Apprentices in 100 days’ initiative, resulting in jobs for 107 young people. We have continued our efforts since then, helping hundreds of young people.

“In 2014 we are determined to redouble our efforts with the help of our members.

“We are really keen to hear from young people looking for a job – these are permanent vacancies with apprenticeship training.”

The Chamber has vowed that if local companies pledge jobs, it will:

  • Identify willing and suitable young candidates
  • Ensure they meet the ‘Chamber Approved’ standard before being sent for interviews
  • Provide Apprenticeship training and access to other courses through the Chamber’s new Business School – free of charge
  • Provide grants which can cover half their wages in the first year The scheme also supports transport costs.

The Chamber will hold an open day to promote its opportunities on Monday, December 9.

  • Further information is available at Starting Point on Hardshaw Street. Businesses wishing to pledge vacancies can contact St Helens Chamber on 01744 742333.

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