More than 100 young people have got their first break thanks to a scheme in Liverpool aimed at lifting teenagers out of unemployment.
The Mayoral Youth Contract Apprenticeship Business Grant Initiative offers a subsidy of up to £3,500 for employers to take on young people who are aged 16 and 17 and not in education, employment and training (NEET).
Over the last 12 months, 104 people have been taken on by 25 employers, giving them a chance to get on the first rung of the employment ladder.
The roles have ranged from horticulture, hairdressing and childcare through to catering, construction and sport with companies from the private, public and non-profit sectors.
A celebration event is being held at Liverpool Town Hall on Thursday 19 December at which dozens of the young people and employers will come together to celebrate their achievements and employers will be thanked for supporting the scheme.
Councillor Nick Small, Cabinet member for employment, enterprise and skills, said: “I am really pleased that this scheme has been such a success, giving young people the chance to compete for a job and develop relevant skills and experience.
“So many of our teenagers have fantastic raw potential and it is vital we don’t end up with a lost generation that aren’t given the opportunity to show what they can do.”
The project has been aimed at tackling the issue of businesses being reluctant to offer opportunities to young people who lack relevant qualifications or work experience, and who are struggling in the highly competitive jobs market.
The funding pays for the first six months of a minimum 12 month apprenticeship and covers the cost of the national minimum wage for apprenticeships, which is currently £3.72 an hour.
It forms part of the City Deal negotiated with Government, and Liverpool is one of only three places able to allocate its own pot of money to the scheme through the Youth Contract.
The cost of being NEET from 16-18 years is estimated to cost the public purse around £56,000.
The scheme is now moving into its second phase. More information is available for employers at www.liverpool.gov.uk, emailing email@example.com or calling 0151 233 5346.