MORE than £675,000 will be ploughed into generating more valuable work experience, apprenticeships and job opportunities for young people in Bracknell Forest during the next three years.

The borough council – along with other Berkshire authorities – signed up to a landmark £2.4m City Deal last year, which aims to drive economic growth and prosperity.

It was confirmed last week that Bracknell Forest will benefit from £679,000 of funding thanks to the programme, which is jointly funded by the Government and the European Structural and Investment Fund (SIF).

City Deals are negotiated between central government and areas or cities, and help give local authorities the powers and tools they need to drive economic growth and prosperity.

Cllr Marc Brunel-Walker, executive member for economic development and regeneration at Bracknell Forest Council, said: “This funding will provide invaluable work experience opportunities for some of our young people as well as apprenticeships and employment.

“This is obviously welcome news for our young people but also for our local businesses and the borough’s economic health as it will provide a motivated and skilled young workforce.

“Plus it will help to further reduce youth unemployment, which we’ve already started to tackle and have seen a steady decline in over the past few years.” The Thames Valley Berkshire City Deal centres on giving 4,500 of the area’s 16 to 24-year-olds the skills they need to access local job opportunities and help local businesses get the workforce they need to support growth.

The money will be used in Bracknell Forest to reduce youth employment by securing employers who will take on people for work experience and to recruit apprentices.

It will also create a central information, advice and guidance hub for anybody aged 16 and older, where they can gain impartial advice on education, training and employment.

The money will help pay for a two-year (fixed-term contract) business relationship coordinator to oversee the project and ensure that providers are delivering more effective solutions for the business community.