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£500,000 jobs fund aims to create apprentice and graduate roles
10:17am Monday 21st April 2014 in News
ONE-YEAR work placements for 20 graduates and apprenticeships for 40 youngsters will be created by St Helens Council.
Barrie Grunewald, the council’s leader, described the £500,000 funding for the roles as a “commitment to the young people of the town”.
Unemployment among young people has been a major concern over the past six years, and in 2012 a report stated the town was in the 10 areas of the country worst hit during the double dip recession.
However, the council, St Helens Chamber and St Helens College have been putting resources into trying to create more opportunities.
In a bold statement, Cllr Grunewald said: “St Helens has many reasons to look forward to the future with optimism.
“In the coming years we have a range of major investments planned that will not just bring about jobs by building new infrastructure, but will significantly increase the demand for skilled young people.
“Apprenticeships are an increasingly important way of addressing the skills gaps in the current labour market.”
The aim is to create 40 new apprentices from September and one-year work placements for 20 graduates.
These will be both at the council and at local businesses.
According to the council, it helped 48 graduates into permanent jobs last year and created 23 apprenticeships.
The council leader added: “It is really important that our young people are offered paid employment to gain work experience.
“I am committed to significant improvements in the level of educational attainment for young people and addressing youth unemployment.”
Latest statistics show 1,345 people aged 18 to 24 in St Helens are claiming unemployment benefit, which at a rate of 9.2 per cent is higher than the north west (5.8 per cent) and UK (5.2 per cent).
The number of 16 to 18 year olds not in work, education or training stands at 413.