More than 100 young people at risk of falling into long-term unemployment will be provided with jobs for a full year as part of a £1.2m project to be presented to Barnsley Council’s Cabinet next week.
The Barnsley Youth Employment Programme (BYEP), if approved by Cabinet at their meeting on Wednesday 24 March, would be delivered in partnership with Berneslai Homes with the aim of increasing youth employment in the borough.
Jointly the organisations aim to create more than 100 paid placement opportunities in total for up to 12 months as a springboard into a career. This figure includes 40 placements already approved as part of the government’s Kickstart project which will be extended from six months to a year under the proposals, another 40 new year-long roles within the council, and other roles within Berneslai Homes.
The government’s Kickstart programme funds roles for up to six months, and the proposals would see the council match-fund this to extend the roles to a full year. This will give the young people a much greater opportunity to develop new skills meaning they are better placed to find long term employment after their placement. The council and Berneslai Homes will also benefit by keeping the new recruits for longer.
Many of those taking up the roles will also benefit from the extension of the public transport concessionary fares extension announced this week, which will allow anyone in South Yorkshire up to the age of 21 to travel by bus for a single fare of 80p. This will run for one year starting in June.
Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, said: “The Barnsley Youth Employment Programme will give 100 young people an absolutely incredible opportunity to get their foot on the employment ladder.
“Not only will they have a year’s worth of steady income, they will have a year of real-world experience of working life, a year’s experience on their CV, and a year of support to grow into their roles. They’ll learn professional skills, life skills, interpersonal skills, and they’ll be well prepared to enter the wider world of work.
“If approved by Cabinet we’ll be able to offer this golden opportunity for a year instead of the government-funded six months. This is a win-win, as it gives the young people double the experience and opportunity, and after six months, once they’ve learned the skills required and settled into their roles, rather than leaving, they’ll have another six months to contribute what they’ve learned to help deliver excellent services to the people of Barnsley.
“What’s more, we’ll be working with them to progress into permanent work at the end of the programme, or even sooner if they’re ready.”
Alison Rusdale, Executive Director of Corporate Services at Berneslai Homes, said: “Berneslai Homes are delighted to be able to offer this fantastic employment programme to young people. We have already employed 11 young people across the company through the Kickstart programme with a further 19 placements planned this year.
“Working together with the council we can extend our help to give young people the best opportunities to find permanent employment.”
The programme will give young people:
- 12-month paid work placement (25 hours per week)
- accredited qualifications
- non-accredited awards
- intensive wraparound support focusing on employment readiness
- the opportunity to learn more about the various functions and services the council and Berneslai Homes deliver all across the borough for residents and businesses
- The chance to extend their networks and connections for their future employment search.
In addition to the year-long posts, the proposal will also enable the offer of shorter six-month placements to young people who might not qualify for the government-funded part of the scheme, for example, care leavers who do not receive Universal Credit, who are not in education, employment or training. These young people would be able to make use of the council-funded part of the scheme.
The Barnsley Youth Employment Programme is just one part of a wider package of measures the council and partners are taking to increase youth employment. These include Advance Barnsley, a new website launched last month to bring together in one place helpful information, advice, guidance and access to support to help young people find, get, stay-in and progress in work.