AS we continue to deal with the impact of the coronavirus on our everyday lives, I am continuing to do everything I can for every person across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.

In recent weeks, we’ve announced investments worth £242.4m for the Teesworks site where there will be 505 well paid jobs created in the clean-up, with more being created every day. This means hundreds of people are already benefitting from a wage and money in their pocket to look after themselves and their families.

I’m absolutely blown away that former steelworkers are once again working at Teesworks, which is the former Redcar steelworks site. The closure of our steelworks was devastating, but to see these guys back home and working onsite is testament to everything we’re trying to do and the grit and determination that set our workers apart.

We talk a lot about creating jobs for the future, and creating opportunities for our young people is so important, but we can’t lose sight of those who have worked here for decades but have found themselves out of work.

Our Routes to Work scheme has also surpassed all targets and expectations and has been doing a fantastic job of targeting people who need help most. It’s helped give hundreds of people the self-belief, skills and training they need to get back into the jobs market and have a rewarding career.

The £7.5m pilot, which helps unemployed over-30s who need the most help to get back into work, has engaged with more than 2,800 people and has helped 488 back into employment. This is against its target of 2,500 engaged and 375 back into employment by the end of March next year.

To help us create more local jobs for local people, I would urge businesses to take advantage of the Kickstart scheme – a £2 bn fund aimed at creating hundreds of thousands of high-quality six-month work placements for those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.

226 new jobs are to be created at 63 companies across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool as a result of the Tees Valley’s applications to Government so far, and we’re expecting even more to follow.

When this Government scheme was launched, I said it was a fantastic opportunity for our businesses to step up and help create jobs and opportunities for young people. It is therefore great to see that once again the Tees Valley is taking the lead for the rest of the country to follow.

Being able to provide our young people with a kick start on the career ladder is crucial, especially as their employment opportunities have been some of the worst affected by coronavirus.

So if you are a business and you can give a young person a chance, the Government will pay their wage bill for six months and my team will help you to navigate the red tape and apply for this. By working together we can improve the career prospects and life chances of hundreds of young people across the Tees Valley.

Organisations based in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool that wish to take on a young person for six months should register their interest here.