West Suffolk College have officially launched their ‘One Step Closer’ initiative designed to help reduce youth unemployment throughout the region and meet the skills needs of local employers.
Part funded and commissioned by West Suffolk councils, the programme has been created to identify and support any individuals in West Suffolk who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) with the view that the scheme will help progress them towards their career goals.
The College will be employing three new talent coaches who will work closely with the young people who are NEET to provide them with full, comprehensive development and training that will prepare them for employment and any training. The coaches will also liaise as necessary, with local voluntary and community organisations who can support these individuals with specific requirements.
The new initiative will effectively create a talent pool of job-ready applicants that West Suffolk College will promote as potential apprentices or trainees across their extensive employer network.
Laraine Moody, Vice Principal of Employer Engagement at the College said: “This bespoke talent matching service will make a significant positive impact on the success of individuals; participation in apprenticeships, social mobility and subsequently the productivity of the local economy.”
Laraine continued, “We are delighted to be working with West Suffolk council on this exciting and innovative project that will make a real difference to the young people of this region.”
Councillor Lance Stanbury, Cabinet Member for Planning and Growth at Forest Heath District Council said: “Business sectors across West Suffolk including construction, hospitality, engineering and manufacturing, health and social care are all crying out for new people with the right skills. One Step Closer is about us investing in success of both the individual and local businesses. It represents another example of how the West Suffolk councils are working closely with both education and business sectors to empower young people on the start of their careers. In so doing we are helping close the skill gap to the benefit of our local businesses and the long term success of the wider UK economy.”
Councillor Susan Glossop, Cabinet Member for Planning and Growth at St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: “One Step Closer is about us investing in the lives of young individuals who for whatever reason may be a little lost. We already have a good track record of working with partnership with organisations to deliver a similar bespoke coaching service to young people in Haverhill. By working with West Suffolk College we can identify and reach out to these young people and through targeted coaching, we can give them the confidence and the self-esteem to further pursue the necessary education or training that they may need to help them start successful careers.”
One Step Closer has been co-funded by West Suffolk councils, Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Public Sector Leaders.
The College plan to host a One Step Closer event in conjunction with the Council this summer which will bring employers, coaches and the young people together to forge even closer working partnership between the college, council and business sectors.