A £4MILLION project to create a new youth hub and help get young people into jobs, education and training is being launched in Leicester.
The youth employment hub is being set up by Leicester City Council with local training and enterprise partners that specialise in working with young people and young adults.
It will benefit from £2million in funding after successful city council bids to the European Social Fund (ESF), with the rest of the money coming from the city council (£1.1m) and partners.
The project will offer tailored support and opportunities to young people in Leicester who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). The former Visit Leicester tourist information store - in Gallowtree Gate in the city centre – will be transformed into a youth employment hub, which people will be able to visit to find out more about jobs, apprenticeships, training schemes and college courses.
Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, assistant city mayor for education, said: “We know that young people have been hit hard by the pandemic. Nationally, youth unemployment stands at 9% and in Leicester it is at 6.9%.
“We’re determined to prioritise young people for support and help them to achieve their ambitions – especially those who are not already in work, education or training.
“We were absolutely delighted to get this very significant amount of funding for the youth hub project. It will help us to make a real and long-lasting difference to the lives of young people.”
Cllr Danny Myers, assistant city mayor for jobs and skills, added: “Setting up a youth employment hub in a prominent city centre location signals our long-term commitment to providing opportunities for young people.
“This will form an important part of our wider Leicester Employment Hub, which already works directly with employers and jobseekers of all ages and has a proven track record, having helped nearly 300 people into employment or apprenticeships.
“In line with our Economic Action Plan, we want to encourage investment into the city and drive demand for a skilled workforce, so that local opportunities of all kinds are available for young people. This will help Leicester to make a strong recovery from the huge economic impact of the pandemic.”
The project will be overseen by the city council’s Connexions service, which provides careers advice and support for 16-25 year olds.
Three local training providers will also work on the project. They are Futures, which specialises in employability for 18-25 year-olds; the Youth Education Project; and Transform. All three have provided match-funding to be a part of the project, and all three will be able to provide more specialist training places and support for young people as a result of the ESF funding.
As well as working on traditional skills such as interview techniques and CV writing, young people who engage with the youth employment hub can get extra support if they need it. This could include help with online applications, someone to accompany them to a job interview, confidence-building techniques and help to break down any barriers to work that they might be facing.
The three-year programme plans to help more than 1,000 young people into employment, education or training. It will be open to all young people who are NEET, but it will particularly target groups of young people who are more likely to be NEET – such as young people leaving care, those with special educational needs and disabilities, or those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to more young people becoming NEET. In February 2020, the number of young people aged 16-19 who were not in education, employment or training was 515 – 5.7% of all local young people in that age bracket. By February 2021, this had risen to 659, or 7.2%.
The youth hub is planning to open in mid-May, restrictions permitting. In the meantime, to find out more about employment and training opportunities locally, visit www.leicesteremploymenthub.co.uk