THE Government has launched its £2billion Kickstart scheme to create hundreds of thousands of job placements for those aged 16-24.

The Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, via Tees Valley Business, are leading a consortium of businesses to take advantage of the scheme.

The scheme will create new possibilities for those aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and are at risk of being long-term unemployed, with a £2billion fund to encourage companies to establish six-month work placements and give local people in this situation the boost they need.

Those businesses who want to take on 30 or more employees can do so directly via the Government.

Through Tees Valley Business, The Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority are acting as representatives for firms that wish to create these vital roles and support the workforce of the future but can’t meet that number.

They are helping secure funding to cover their wages for six months and giving companies a hand navigating the red tape.

Mr Houchen said: "By coming together, we can go to Government on their behalf and create up to 500 placements across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool – and we’ve already had interest in creating 200 of these. Businesses of all types, across all sectors, are important to our economy and every week I have the privilege of visiting them to see first-hand the great work they are doing.

"Not just the private sector, but public, voluntary and community sectors and the self-employed, and this fund is open to all. No matter what size or what they do, they can apply to help change lives and uncover hidden talents and skills to help them grow.

"I have also met dozens of trainees, apprentices and students of all ages who are flourishing in employment or work placement and know the value that these can bring. They give people financial stability, experience and self-confidence and can be the first steps to rewarding, well-paid careers that put more money in their pockets and enhance our entire region.

"We’re going further, faster to make sure everyone, no matter their age, can have a great career right here - from access to high quality work experience for 11-18-year-olds through and powers over Adult Education to our successful Routes to Work scheme for those the furthest from employment.

"Applications are coming in thick and fast, so to make sure your business doesn’t get left behind, register your interest at"