Scheme to benefit young jobseekers and businesses

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter (Sedgefield)

YOUNG jobseekers in the Spennymoor area have more chance of finding work thanks to a new apprenticeship scheme which will also help businesses harness fresh talent.

Durham County Council’s employability team aims to get 30 people from the town and surrounding villages who are aged up to 24 into employment and training with local firms.

Officers will work with organisations and training providers such as South Durham Enterprise Agency, South Durham Business Network, Bishop Auckland College and Jobcentre Plus to encourage companies to take on apprentices and to match jobseekers with their ideal posts.

They will particularly target businesses with less than 250 staff and those who have not taken on trainees in the last year, in a bid to broaden the range of opportunities available and so more businesses can reap the rewards.

Firms that take part will get financial incentives to employ apprentices.

They will receive a £1,500 grant from the National Apprenticeship Service towards the start of the contract and a further £1,000 after 15 months which is designed to make the post sustainable long term.

The project aims to tackle youth unemployment which is still high and stats show that businesses benefit from introducing apprentices to the workforce, financially and by passing on knowledge and experience to the next generation.

Spennymoor Area Action Partnership has put £30,000 into the initiative, which will be used for the second incentive payment, as it is line with one of its priorities to boost employment and job prospects.

Michael Wilkes, AAP coordinator, said: “There are huge benefits for young people looking for work and for businesses that get involved.

“If a business needs work doing they will get help to take someone on to do it.

“It will also get people into work and training- earning pay, gaining skills and building up their CV.

“The hope is that they will be in post for two years but that the position will be sustainable at the end of the apprenticeship.”

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