Funding boost to help long-term Leeds unemployed

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A new £1.2m fund to get young unemployed people across Leeds back into work has been officially launched.

The Head Start programme - designed to help long term unemployed aged 18-24 find jobs - will offer 800 people the chance of a supported work experience placement.

Leeds City Council has now issued a rallying cry to local businesses, calling on them to get involved and help the city’s young people get a fresh start.

Head Start comes after the Leeds City Region was awarded £4.6m from the government in 2013, with £1.2m going towards the initiative in Leeds.

The project will build on the success of the city’s other work experience programmes, such as the council’s Work@Leeds scheme which offered placements within the local authority.

Stephen Prince, 22, from Bramley took part in Work@Leeds after being unemployed for around a year. He has now been in a job at Leeds-based 4 Site Security for over a month.

He said: “I was getting really demoralised, sending out applications and CVs and getting nowhere. It really knocked my confidence and I started to wonder if I was unemployable. Then I went to Work@Leeds and did a six week placement with the council’s communications team. They helped me build my CV up and being around the team really boosted my confidence.”

He added: “I’m ecstatic to be back in work and there’s nothing like that pride, satisfaction and self-respect you get from having a job.

Businesses taking part will receive £300 per placement.

Candidates will get placements of up to six weeks, with two weeks in college beforehand.

They will also get a CV workshop and a guaranteed interview. It is available to those who have been claiming jobseekers allowance for six months or more.

Coun Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member for leisure and skills said: “This exciting new scheme will give a huge boost to young people who are struggling to find work in an incredibly challenging job market.

“We know that there are a lot of enthusiastic and hungry young people out there who have been out of work for a long time - all they need is the right chance and they can be an asset to any company.”

For details, contact Michelle Law on 0113 3952905.

It may sound a lot, but will £1.2m really be enough to make a dent in youth unemployment? Click here to register and have your say on the stories and issues that matter to you

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