total of nearly £1.5-million (£1,500,000) is to be ploughed into helping jobless young
people to get into work in Coventry and Warwickshire.
The money will enable unemployed 16 to 24 year olds to take part in an extended version
of the successful Career Choice programme run by The Chamber.
This will give them a taste of different careers and start them off on achieving the
skills qualifications sought by employers.
In many cases work placements are expected to lead to being taken on as permanent
employees, or being motivated to go back to further education to acquire the necessary
"We know that 13 per cent of all school leavers in Coventry and Warwickshire
become unemployed or take dead-end jobs without any training.," said Kay Anderson,
The Chamber's youth development co-ordinator.
"A quarter of all the unemployed in our area are in this age bracket, and there
are over 700 unemployed 16 to 18 year olds at any one time.
"Yet half of the young people with special needs, such as still needing to acquire
basic skills, fail to complete a week on work experience.
"So each one will have a personal mentor for eight weeks, to give them
encouragement and ensure a smooth transition from the original assessment of their needs
through to vocational training."
The Chamber has won funds of almost £620,000 from the European Social Fund towards the
Without this the number the programme aims to help would have had to be cut from 1,140
This, in turn, would have reduced the number expected to get jobs, training or further
education from 684 to 252. Worse, none of the participants would have been able to go for
"In addition, the money we invested in kick starting this programme last year
would have been largely wasted," said Kay Anderson.
Research by The Chamber found that employers of 25 people, or less, were least likely
to offer jobs to the group of young people being targeted.
These firms make up 87 per cent of the employers in Coventry and Warwickshire-yet half
of all companies are currently reporting difficulty in filling vacancies.
The Chamber also found, for instance, that one in five of the young people targeted
wanted to try careers in protective or personal services, such as health, childcare and
catering-almost matching the number of firms in these fields reporting difficulty in
Ms Anderson added:
"The key to getting young people on board the programme is winning their
confidence at the assessment stage and helping them to realise that they can change if
"Isolation and low self-esteem can, and must, then be broken down by giving them a
range of interesting tasks."
If necessary the programme will also deal with problems such as difficulties with the
police or families, drugs or alcohol or even homelessness.
The Chamber also found a wide geographical discrepancy in the type of jobs likely to be
In Coventry it was personal and protective service companies. In North
Warwickshire there are vacancies in plant and machinery operation. In Stratford and
Nuneaton and Bedworth there was a demand for clerical and secretarial staff.
But manufacturing, wholesale and retail, renting and business services also report hard
to fill vacancies across Coventry and Warwickshire.
"We have to match up these openings with the aspirations of young people, and
provide the glue to keep them together by providing NVQ vocational training in the skills
the employers want," Ms Anderson said.