1,000 new youth jobs for Leeds

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More than 1,000 jobs for young people will be created in Leeds and its surrounding cities after a £4.6m funding boost.

As reported in the YEP yesterday, the Leeds City Region has successfully bid for the Government grant to help tackle youth unemployment. And today, it was revealed that the cash will create over 1,160 jobs for 18-24 year-olds.

Leaders today hailed the investment as a welcome boost to the “vital steps we mean to take” to continue the region’s economic recovery.

Roger Marsh, chairman of the Leeds City Region LEP (local enterprise partnership) board said: “Whilst the economic recovery in the region is looking positive, we need to strengthen our offer to young people, which in turn will enable job creation. The LEP’s bid to Government signals that supporting our young people is a priority for the Leeds City Region and I am delighted that the Government have recognised the vital steps we mean to take.”

There are currently over 23,000 unemployed 18 to 24 year olds in the Leeds city region claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA). Around 10,000 of those have been on benefits for more than six months. However newly released figures also show that the overall number of people claiming JSA fell by more than 500 in Leeds last month.

The new funding will build on the agreement of the City Deal with the Government last July.

It will be used to provide targeted support for at-risk and long-term unemployed young people. It will also fund the delivery of a pilot scheme to look at the role that Employment Agencies can play in helping young people into work. A new Young Ambassador Scheme, to offer peer mentoring, support and advice to young people, is also among the new priorities.

The investment is part of a major billion-pound pot of cash being offered by the Government for cities to invest over the next three years

Coun Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council and a member of the Leeds City Region LEP board, said: “Every young person in our region should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

“Unfortunately, if we do not make real progress in tackling youth unemployment we risk wasting the talent and potential of thousands of our young people.

“Ensuring that young people have the skills employers in this region need will not only boost our economy and help businesses thrive, it will make a huge difference to tackling persistent inequalities that blight many of our communities. For that reason tackling youth unemployment must remain the key priority for Leeds City Region.”

The Leeds City Region partnership brings together 11 local authorities.