A PROGRAMME developed in St Helens to address youth unemployment is now being taken up across the UK.
St Helens Chamber of Commerce and St Helens Council teamed up to create Work Ready – Chamber Approved.
Now it has been featured in a discussion paper issued today by the Department for Education and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, which sets out proposals for a new programme to support young people to develop the skills they need for apprenticeships and other sustained jobs.
The discussion paper, which will invite views on the design and delivery of the programme from education and training providers, employers and other partners, features the Chamber’s programme as a successful example of how to prepare young people for the workplace.
The proposals outline the national roll-out of “Traineeships”, intended to respond to employers’ concerns that young people often lack the right skills and attitudes when they apply for an apprenticeship or other employment.
As with the chamber’s programme, the Traineeships would be aimed at young people who are motivated by the prospect of securing employment and would offer them an opportunity to undertake a combination of work placements and work skills training, alongside support to improve their English and maths.
Depending on the young person’s needs, there would be flexibility for them to be provided with other help to develop their skills and progress quickly into an apprenticeship or other employment.
Kath Boullen, chief executive at St Helens Chamber, said: “We were fortunate to secure support from St.Helens Council to try out a new approach to preparing young people for work.
“We found that young people were often not presenting their strengths well enough during interviews and needed some straightforward guidance on how to best do this.
“We provide additional help with English and maths, some basic training which businesses value, such as health and safety and some work experience.”