£51 million boost to employment prospects for local young adults

The Black Country Impact has successfully achieved up to £51 million of funding to deliver a two year project that will address the barriers faced by unemployed individuals aged 15-29 years.

The four Black Country Councils came together in 2014 and began work on developing a new approach that supports young people into employment, education and training. The councils were quickly joined by Black Country Talent Match, a project led by Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council and funded through the Big Lottery. Together the partnership has succeeded in gaining approval from Department of Work and Pensions for £34 million of new European Union funding, matched by £8 million from the Big Lottery Fund and further funding from partners to create a £51 million Impact programme.           

The funders backing the Black Country Impact project are the European Social Fund and Youth Employment Initiative, as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England, and the Big Lottery Fund which has provided “match” funding through its financing of Black Country Talent Match.

The projects strength is its individualised approach and alternative delivery, which simply put gives young adults across the Black Country the most flexible and personalised learning and support possible. Support that will help young adults address a range of different personal needs and skills needs in order for them to have the employment opportunities they want. Councillor Pete Lowe, Leader of Dudley Council, said:

“We are delighted to have successfully secured these much needed funds for our residents. There can be no doubt that these are challenging times for some young adults in the Black Country.

"Through the Black Country Impact we are determined to tackle the barriers that may be preventing some young adults from becoming all they can. The success of Impact will not only benefit Dudley Borough but it will benefit the whole of the Black Country.”

At the heart of the approach from the Black Country Impact is the ability to tailor a package of support and opportunities that meets the needs of the individual, this could be through traineeships, apprenticeships, coaching, work placements, self-employment advice, including social enterprises, customised training or more depending on what works best for the individual.

The Department of Work and Pension, together with the London intermediate body Greater London Authority, manage the European Social Fund (ESF) within England and are the Managing Authority for this project. Locally, Dudley Council has taken the lead role for this project, as well as being a delivery partner, and is the Local Accountable Body for the partnership. Through the Black Country Impact the project will improve young people’s participation in the labour market.

to find out more about the project, visit dudley.gov.uk/resident/black-country-impact.


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