An initiative to access the pool of untapped talent and find jobs for 2,016 young people in Northamptonshire by 2016 is on track to exceed targets at its mid-way point.
Challenge 2016 was launched in 2012 when there were 4,580 18-24 year olds receiving Jobseekers Allowance in Northamptonshire, making up almost a third of the county’s unemployed.
The latest figure for unemployed young people in the county has now dropped by 39 per cent to 2,805, 1,775 fewer than two years ago.
Businesses have been recruiting young people and offering apprenticeships, work experience programmes and training opportunities.
Helen Errington, HR manager at Church’s, said: “It’s really important to create a range of opportunities that attract and foster young talent as well as offering support for future development.
“At Church’s we realise the importance of this approach to the manufacturing industry as a whole which is why we are embarking on our third consecutive Apprenticeship Programme in association with Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership’s Job Broker Team.”
NEP’s Job Brokerage service has also been developed to match young people with the right jobs and help businesses with recruitment and training.
A number of local events have been held to showcase the opportunities available to young people including Apprenticeship Fairs and Skills Shows. For the first time, the National Skills Show is coming to Northamptonshire in July offering Year 10 students ‘have-a-go’ activities across a range of vocational areas and work skills designed to inspire and stimulate career ideas.
John Markham, NEP chairman, said: “Young people are essential to the future of Northamptonshire and its growing economy.
“Challenge 2016 is demonstrating impressive results and that is thanks to our partners and businesses who have worked together to develop a targeted programme for young people that is really working.”
Cllr Paul Bell, of Wellingborough Council, said: “It’s great to know that all of the hard work is paying dividends.
“In Wellingborough we have hosted an apprenticeships fair, which assisted over 90 young people on the day; played a key role in the £1.8 million Talent Match bid to help local young people who have been unemployed or out of education for at least twelve months; and we are currently looking to provide work experience opportunities for students approaching school-leaving age.”
Leader of Corby Council, Cllr Tom Beattie said: “Getting our young people into employment has, and remains to be, a priority here in Corby. These figures highlight the successful partnership working that is taking place to achieve this throughout the county and shows with the right guidance and support our young residents can succeed in the workplace.”
Cllr Russell Roberts, leader of Kettering Council, said: “This is yet another example of the excellent work that NEP does in Northamptonshire. Jobs are essential, particularly jobs that give young people a start in life.”