A NEW scheme aimed at helping unemployed people gain free qualifications in the construction trade begins on Tuesday.
The scheme, which will cater for 80 people, has been set up by energy company Halite to help those out of work across Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde to regain employment.
The five programmes are set to run up to the end of May or early June.
Sixteen people will be enrolled on each course, with priority being given to unemployed people in Over Wyre, Fleetwood, Thornton, Cleveleys, Poulton, Bispham and Blackpool.
In addition, should the proposals for underground gas storage be approved in April 2013, Halite will guarantee them an interview for a relevant job either with Halite or with the company’s sub-contractors.
The scheme has been welcome by Fleetwood Town council chair, Alan Marsh.
Coun Marsh said: “Anything that we as a town can do in helping the unemployed is a good thing, and to that end I thank Halite for their magnificent gesture to pay for the training for 80 unemployed people in the Wyre area, and hopefully it’s the start of a lot more incentives for potential employers for the future, because if only half of what’s in the pipeline comes to fruition there are maybe two or three thousand jobs coming our way.
“We have to ensure the area, and we have to include Blackpool in this, takes advantage of the reskilling of people who have lost their jobs and the skilling of people who are unemployed.”
And Coun Marsh hopes the project will mean more local firms offer their expertise and services to young people across the Fylde making their first tentative steps on to the career ladder.
He said: “We’ve got to do something about young people coming out of school because not everyone can go to university and we need apprenticeships.
“There is a need and we’ve got to see what we can do give people the skills and training they need to get work.”
The course is being run in conjunction with Blackpool Build Up, which helps run courses to get unemployed people back into work.
The course will take place at Blackpool Build Up’s training premises in Blackpool and at the College campus in Bispham.
Keith Budinger, chief executive of Halite Energy, said: “Halite Energy is committed to ensuring that the local community gains maximum benefit from our underground gas storage project.
“Our proposals represent a £600 million investment in Lancashire that will create up to 3,000 direct and indirect jobs. It is very important to Halite that as many of these jobs as possible go to local people.
“The goal will be to up-skill local people so that they are well placed to secure jobs should our project receive consent in April.”