City of Wolverhampton Council is set to launch a new £3million programme to boost youth employment in the city.
‘Wolves at Work 18-24’ will support young people currently claiming benefits and aged 18 to 24 into sustainable employment, apprenticeships, education or training.
The impact of the pandemic has left Wolverhampton with the highest unemployment rate for 18 to 24-year-olds in the UK, equating to 2,660 young people – but city employers are reporting high levels of vacancies.
The Council is now investing millions of pounds and calling on the support of city employers to develop a comprehensive ‘One City’ approach to deliver targeted intervention and better connect young people to skills and employment opportunities in the region.
If the programme is approved at Cabinet next Wednesday (October 20) and Full Council on November 3, it will launch with a ‘City Ideas Fund’ of initially £100,000 for city employers and partners to submit bids to fund new ideas aimed at getting more young people into sustained employment, apprenticeships, education or training.
Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: “Children and young people, and youth employment, has always been a focus and priority for the Council and city. It features heavily in the Council’s Relighting Our City plans.
“Despite the fact there are already extensive and ambitious programmes and interventions in place to tackle this challenge, they are not having the desired impact. Therefore, a reinvigorated and comprehensive programme of targeted interventions will now be developed.
“Wolves at Work 18-24 urgently delivers the step change needed in our City to give unemployed young people opportunities for secure, sustainable employment, apprenticeships, education or training.
“With the end of the furlough scheme likely to further exacerbate the challenge, it is clear that the Council cannot address this challenge in isolation, it is therefore absolutely essential that the Council leads and drives a coordinated and sustained response with city employers and partners, the West Midlands Combined Authority and Government Departments – a ‘One City’ Response, with young people and their voices at the centre of every element of the response.”
The Council is also committed to holding a Wolves at Work 18-24 City Summit to bring together a range of key partners – local, regional and national – and employers to forge a ‘One City’ approach to tackling the underlying issues which transcend organisational boundaries.