In a bid to help tackle unemployment in the region, West Suffolk College and its partners have taken the decision to extend their youth employment programme to people of all ages who are unemployed or at risk of redundancy due to Covid 19.
In 2019 the One Step Closer scheme was commissioned by West Suffolk Council and co-funded by West Suffolk Council, Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Public Sector Leaders to support young people aged 16-24 in West Suffolk who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) towards their career goals. Early in 2020 Babergh District Council and Suffolk County Council followed the great work that One Step Closer had started and created a new scheme for young people in the Babergh District.
Both projects have seen their dedicated Talent Coaches support and mentor over 500 16-24 year olds into Apprenticeships, jobs and further education. Due to rising unemployment rates in all age groups, both schemes will now be made readily available for people of any age who are seeking employment, education or training.
Despite the current climate, the college apprenticeship recruitment is hitting new heights with the team having placed over 500 apprentices into roles with employers since the pandemic hit back in March
Laraine Moody, Vice Principal for Employer Engagement at West Suffolk College said: “We have seen the incredible impact that the Youth Employment schemes have had and we believe that they will go from strength to strength now that we are able to extend our offer at a time when so many people need that extra support. I am extremely proud of what the team have achieved so far and we are delighted to continue our collaboration with West Suffolk Council, Babergh District Council and Suffolk County Council so we can continue to make a real difference to people of this region.”
Cllr John Griffiths, Leader of West Suffolk Council said: “The pandemic has sadly meant that many people of all ages have lost or are at risk of losing their job and that can be a devastating, confidence crushing experience. Prior to Covid 19, One Step Closer was doing exactly what we commissioned it to do and was making great strides helping young people toward the start of their careers, coordinating with employers to help meet the skills needs of local businesses. While our priority remains helping young people toward the start of their careers, the talent coaches will now also be helping people of all ages with training or education, rebuilding their confidence and self-esteem, all towards their end goal of gaining new employment opportunities.”