A MULTI-MILLION pound scheme has been launched to help the Fylde coast’s unemployed teenagers.
More than £160m has been pledged to provide business with the necessary funding to employ and train the thousands of 16- to 17-year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET).
Businesses and charities will be invited to bid for contracts worth up to £2,200 to take on youngsters as part of the youth contract scheme.
Coun Brian Doherty, who runs Blackpool Centre for the Unemployed, said: “Any money that comes in from Government to go into training has got to be a good thing, it’s just a matter of whether the places are available.
“As far as Blackpool is concerned I think the rate of youth unemployment is far too high and I hope jobs can come forward and will be allocated to them in the future.”
Coun Doherty is adamant paying youngsters to work is a step in the right direction and previous decisions to offer them unpaid apprenticeships and internships was wrong.
He added: “I don’t want to see another generation of young people thrown on the scrap heap.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Douglas Green was recently questioned by young people as part of Young People’s Question Time in Grange Park.
He says he wants to see more of a focus placed on vocational qualifications offered by apprenticeships.
He added: “I’m encouraged by anything which offers people more skills.
“The old apprenticeship scheme has been wound down over the years and has left a lot of unskilled people out of work.
“We have got to make sure the vocational training is right and they are not attending courses which are going to be no use to them later on in life.”
Nicole Burke, chairman of Blackpool Young People’s Council, said: “It’s great to see the Government taking positive action and I think it could be really beneficial, particularly in Blackpool where there are a lot of NEET young people desperate to receive a start and a chance to enter the jobs market.
“I hope local businesses take part in the initiative.”
To bid for the available funds, interested business and charities should contact their local JobCentre for information on the process.