Bracknell youngsters will have more chance of jobs
Published: 31 Oct 2013 08:300 comments
Cities minister Greg Clark was joined by council leaders from across Berkshire at Reading Town Hall for the signing of the Thames Valley City Deal - the first to be given the green light by the Government in the second wave of the initiative.
The council' s deputy leader, Cllr Dale Birch, said: "It's an important deal for the people of Bracknell Forest and the rest of Berkshire to help thousands of young people develop the skills and confidence to grasp the opportunities to build successful careers.
"It will bring together businesses with local public services to tackle youth unemployment and help more young people make an instant impact in the world of work.
"If we can tailor young people’s skills so they are ready and able to take the opportunities that are becoming available, it will go a long way towards further cementing Bracknell Forest's, and the wider region’s, place as a key driver in the economic performance of the UK.”
Addressing business representatives and councillors gathered at the launch, Mr Clark said: “I am delighted to be in a position to sign the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership City Deal. We focused around areas with substantial populations and a track record of growth, and nowhere is a better example of this than Reading.
“Many people are not able to find jobs or move in and out of unemployment, and we are working together to make sure support is available so every young person in the area can have direct correspondence with employers seeking to fill vacancies.”
A total of £2.4m from the Government’s Youth Contract will be invested to support 4,500 young people over three years by providing a single access point to employment and skills opportunities for 16-24 year-olds across the county.
It means the Thames Valley LEP will be given the power from Whitehall to drive economic growth and stamp out unemployment among young people, and the deal aims to create 1,500 new work experience placements, 300 additional apprenticeships and 800 new Youth Contract Wage Incentives for eligible businesses It also wants to achieve a 50% reduction in youth unemployment in three years, secure £1.5 million of private sector investment to support employment and create a Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub to improve business support.
Reading’s council leader Jo Lovelock said: “At the heart of this are the needs of young people. It is ridiculous that so many cannot find work and previously, the advice, support and training available to them has been confused, so hopefully we finally have a straightforward way for young people to get help at the right stage of their lives and the skills they need to access the jobs available.”
Steve Lamb, chairman of the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, added: “This is a positive and exciting opportunity. It offers an unprecedented shift in control from Whitehall over the way in which our skills system works, so that we can make sure we have a highly skilled workforce which corresponds with business needs for future growth and economic success.”