A new agency which promises to take thousands of Leeds’s unemployed youths back into training and jobs has been rubber-stamped by council chiefs.
The Leeds Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA) will be set up in response to stark figures showing that in April 2012, there were 7,300 16 to 24-year-olds on jobseekers allowance, with a further 1,338 16 to 19-year-olds not in education, employment or training (Neets).
It is hoped that over the next four years, a total of 17,000 apprenticeships and 20,000 jobs will be created through the new scheme.
The project is part of the recently announced national City Deal initiative.
Through it, businesses will be supported in matching unemployed young people to apprenticeships within the participating firms.
Speaking at a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board yesterday, where the creation of the agency received unanimous backing, Coun Keith Wakefield, pictured, said the eventual aim was to engage one in every five businesses in the city with the Leeds ATA.
Coun Judith Blake said: “Young people in the city are experiencing the Neet phenomenon. It’s absolutely right that we reach out and engage with these young people because this is their time, and their life chances.”
Coun Andrew Carter added the establishment of the new agency was “absolutely to be welcomed”.
ATA will be run as a partnership with Leeds City College, with the agency operating as a jointly owned and separate company limited through guarantee.
Councillors were told that Leeds has already seen a significant growth in apprenticeships over the past year.
However the scale and breadth of employers offering an apprenticeship still remained one of the lowest in the region.