Home Children and Young People £1.5m investment into employment opportunities for young people
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£1.5m investment into employment opportunities for young people

by Lisa Bennett

Knowsley Council is investing £1.5m into initiatives to support its younger residents into work and training opportunities

It’s part of the council’s COVID-19 recovery programme which will see £8.3m of investment into projects to improve the lives and livelihoods of people living in Knowsley.

It’s been a difficult time for Knowsley residents as the borough has been hard hit by the impacts of the pandemic. Younger people in particular have had to contend with disruption to their education, with lockdowns and periods of self-isolation and the worry of future job prospects. Since the start of the pandemic, opportunities for young apprentices have seen a sharp decline and youth unemployment has doubled across the whole country.

To help tackle this, the council is investing into new initiatives and projects that will directly benefit young people. This includes targeted support starting with pupils in year 9, the establishment of a ‘World of Work’ team to support all 14-18 years olds, 50 additional apprenticeship placements with local businesses and Knowsley Council itself will launch a graduate and apprenticeship programme.

Additional Apprenticeships

Through the Knowsley Apprentice programme an additional 50 apprenticeships specifically for 16-18 years old Knowsley residents, will be created. Each successful candidate will be offered a 2-year employment opportunity with a local business, they will be paid at the living wage appropriate for their age, they will be matched to a college or training provider to complete their apprenticeship and each successful candidate will be allocated a mentor to support them through the programme. These roles are available now and throughout the summer and all vacancies are listed on the council website.

World of Work

A new dedicated team is being created to help students prepare for the transition into employment. Working Closely with year 10 and 11 students in Knowsley schools, the team will help them to understand what the world of work is all about and how to access job opportunities. The programme will inform young people how to behave in the workplace and how to effectively interact with colleagues and supervisors. Employers will visit schools to help with practical training such as writing a CV and interview techniques and students will also have the opportunity to visit places of work.

Support for NEET (not in education, employment, or training)

The council’s advice, guidance and support service helps young people living in Knowsley aged 16 to 18 (and up to age 25 with SEND) to access education, employment and training opportunities. The team assists with job searching and applications, CV writing, interview skills and more.

The team already works closely with Knowsley schools to support year 11 students at risk of becoming NEET and this support will now be made available to students in year 9. Specialist staff will work directly with the students and assist with their next steps into education, employment or training, with the aim of gaining a start date for September.

Knowsley Council Graduate and Apprentice programme

The council is investing in a Workforce Strategy to ensure future workforce needs are identified and the council proactively puts in place robust measures to recruit and retain the right people, with the right skills, when they are needed. The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of flexible and adaptable workstyles, as well as the need for effective business continuity plans. Developing council employees so they can fulfil their potential and secure a career with the council is a vital part of these continuity plans.

As part of these plans, a council apprenticeship and graduate training programme will be developed to offer first class training and job opportunities, wherever possible, to local people and new specialist advisors will also be recruited to help deliver workforce plans.

Knowsley Council regards itself as the ‘employer of choice’ and it is hoped the programme will build on good work to date to realise this position and give people the opportunity to be leaders and ambassadors of the future.

Cllr Tony Brennan, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development commented:

“We know that young people in particular have been hard hit by the impacts of the pandemic. We also know how important it is for young people to have the best start to their career and that is why the council has agreed this investment into these programmes.

“It is crucial for the future of our younger generation to invest now, to provide the support that they need, to work closely with schools and employers so that our younger generation are well equipped for when they enter the world of work and that they understand what opportunities are available to them and how they can access them.

“This investment will make a real difference to our younger residents and I am proud that we have been able to put these measures in place.”

Cllr Margaret Harvey, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services added:

“Children and young people across the borough have suffered massively from the disruption to their education and it is vital that this disruption does not become a barrier for them achieving their ambitions in the future.

“This investment will help us reduce that risk and is a clear demonstration of how the council continues to support young people in Knowsley.”