More than £380k to be invested to help young and disadvantaged residents land apprenticeships
Monday 3rd December 2018 @ 15:16 by Lauren Entwistle
News Tameside

More than £380k is to be invested in a project to help young and disadvantaged residents – including care leavers – land apprenticeships in Tameside.

By Charlotte Green, local democracy reporter.

The Tameside employment fund supports small and independent businesses in the borough, and helps young people find work, often for the first time.

It has been running since 2015, but on the back of its success the town hall has agreed to invest a further £287k to support the scheme for another two years, beginning from April 2019.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority is also contributing an extra £100k to the project.

Bosses say getting care leavers into employment helps them build skills and resilience to live ‘independently of expensive placements which are high cost to the council’.

David Berry, head of employment and skills told the strategic commissioning board that continuing the project would support young people, local businesses and vulnerable groups in the borough.

“Based on 15 care leavers that we supported in the previous scheme, we’ve calculated a return on investment of £2.13 for every pound that we invest,” he said.

“And that comes mainly from helping to reduce extensive housing costs of those young people by getting them into independent tenancies.

“It does reduce unemployment for young people aged 16 to 24, many of who have significant barriers such as being care leavers.

“It also supports the local business community, increases apprenticeships – especially female apprenticeships – creates vocational opportunities and the youth employment element also is a good investment with local businesses.”

As part of the project, small and medium enterprise employers can receive a grant of £1,500 to create apprenticeships for young Tameside residents, and jobs at the living wage.

A trade grant provides up to £1,000 for resident apprentices or self-employed tradespeople aged between 16 to 24 to purchase tools.

And the youth employment scheme offers six months salary reimbursement to employers to take on young people

In a written testimonial care-leaver Georgina – not her real name – said she had been unemployed and struggling to find a job while facing the prospect of leaving her foster parents and living on her own.

The 18-year-old, from Ashton, wrote that through the youth employment scheme she is now doing an apprenticeship in childcare, and hopes to earn a childcare qualification.

“I was given an Asda voucher to buy clothes for my interview and help to choose clothes and shoes so I knew what to wear at my interview,” she said.

“I was unsure what was formal and what was not appropriate. All this support helped me a lot and made me feel more confident at my interview.

“I will be getting my own flat in a few months and this job will help me to become more independent and pay my own bills and rent.”

Council leader Brenda Warrington praised the report as ‘excellent’.

She said: “We must do everything we can to make sure Tameside’s young people, particularly those that don’t have the best start in life have every opportunity to make the best for themselves and have the wherewithal to do that.

“Some of the examples that we are aware of now are really heart-warming, hopefully we’ll hear more and more of those kind of examples from young people who know we are there for them and we are working with them.”

Cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Oliver Ryan added: “From a children’s perspective this is directly creating jobs, there are people in Audenshaw in my ward that have been on this and used it to get an apprenticeship to become a mechanic.”

Coun Ged Cooney said that the scheme would also support those ‘entrepreneurial lads and lasses’ in the borough start their own business.

The youth employment scheme has also helped get young people with disabilities and special needs into work.

A celebration event will now be held to mark the launch of the ‘new’ Tameside employment fund getting support until 2021.