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Councils' new plans to support unemployed young people in west Suffolk


By Jason Noble, Local Democracy Reporter


Plans have been unveiled to offer dedicated support for unemployed young people in west Suffolk.

A report published ahead of the West Suffolk Council joint executive meeting on Tuesday revealed a two-pronged approach, including a new scheme at West Suffolk College and an extension of an existing project from March.

The college will be commissioned to deliver a ‘one step closer’ scheme, to identify youngsters who are NEET (not in education, employment or training) and provide them with targeted coaching in skills and behaviour to help them into work, apprenticeships or additional education.

Bury St Edmunds West Suffolk College sign Picture Mark Westley. (6630288)
Bury St Edmunds West Suffolk College sign Picture Mark Westley. (6630288)

Solutions will be developed based on individual needs of youngsters, the report said, and would be delivered by three ‘talent coaches’ across West Suffolk. Funding of £160,000 per year over two years will be earmarked for the scheme.

Cllr Lance Stanbury, cabinet member for planning and growth at Forest Heath District Council, said: “By working with the college, West Suffolk Councils aim to reach more than 125 young people who are not in education, employment or training in the first year of this project.

“By providing them with targeted coaching, we believe we can give them the confidence, the self-esteem to return to education, employment or training.

“Not only will that benefit their lives as individuals, but it will also form part of our ongoing work with local businesses trying to address the skills gap.”

Cllr Susan Glossop, cabinet member for planning and growth at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “We know sectors such as construction, hospitality, health and social care are crying out for new people and by working with these young people we can help to address some of these issues.”

The schemes come after Suffolk Public Sector Leaders group – a gathering of all council leaders and chief executives – pledged £200,000 from pooled business rates to tackle youth unemployment across Suffolk.

Laraine Moody, vice-principal employer engagement at West Suffolk College, said: “This bespoke talent matching service will make a significant positive impact on the success of individuals; participation in apprenticeships, social mobility and subsequently the productivity of the local economy.”



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