Mayor launches apprentice promise for all West Midlands young people

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street has promised every young person the support they need to get an apprenticeship or training opportunity in a bid to cut youth unemployment in the region.

The Mayor launched the West Midlands Apprenticeship Promise for all 16 to 24-year-olds alongside a new Progression Coaches pilot, announced by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, at a Digital Opportunities Fair at the Library of Birmingham. And the Apprenticeship Promise has already gained the backing of Baroness Karren Brady, star of BBC series The Apprentice, which returned to TV last week. Mayor Andy Street said:

"The West Midlands economy is thriving. We have seen record levels of investment and job creation, we are positioning ourselves as a digital leader for the future, and the region has recently been chosen as a testbed for new 5G technology.

"Yet despite this, we still face challenging levels of youth unemployment, and not enough young people are being connected to these new opportunities generated by our economic growth.

"That’s why the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is saying 'You’re hired!' to every young person aged 16 to 24 in the West Midlands. We’re making a firm commitment to all young people - no matter who you are, or where you live in our region, we promise you will have access to a good apprenticeship or training opportunity.”

The promise will start as a pilot in Birmingham before being applied to the wider West Midlands area. To provide extra support to get young people into work, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has agreed to fund ten new progression coaches.

The coaches will work exclusively with young unemployed people in the West Midlands to help them find and secure job opportunities, training or apprenticeships. They will have a particular focus on young people who currently experience the most challenges in accessing the labour market, including those who lack good qualifications, and those, like care leavers and young homeless, who may need particular support.

The programme will also target young people from working class backgrounds who may lack access to the wide range of professional and technical roles available in the region. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, added:

"We must inspire and excite the next generation of school leavers and job seekers. From these new mentors, they’ll discover the world of work, the opportunities available to them, and be given practical advice to start on this journey.

"The West Midlands has the fastest employment growth in the UK and there are currently record vacancies in the economy, ensuring there are jobs available for young people to enter into.

"I am delighted to launch this partnership with Andy Street, here in the West Midlands, helping young people not only to find the jobs they want, but also build successful careers."


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