Business

Unemployment targeted by Youth Contract for jobseekers

Two local businesses joined forces in July last year to tackle youth unemployment in Horsham by actively promoting the Government’s new Youth Contract for employers and jobseekers.

Last year Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI), a charity providing employment services to jobseekers from Sussex and Kent, supported Interior Concepts Ltd, a Trading Standards approved bespoke office design, refurbishment and installation company, to employ an apprentice, Paul Evans, utilizing the financial incentives available to businesses through the Youth Contract.

Paul’s workload has dramatically increased since his initial employment and now RBLI and Interior Concepts Ltd are celebrating him becoming a permanent member of staff, following the successful completion of his 6 month probation period.

Paul said: “In the last 6 months the job has evolved dramatically. We have completed around 25 installations, including partitioning, suspended ceilings, decorating and electrical installations. I love that I am learning new trade skills every day while on the job, but the best thing about being employed is that I am now financially independent and can support my family.”

The Youth Contract is a £1 billion package of national support to get young people earning or learning again. It provides employers with a financial incentive of up to £2,275 to employ an 18 to 24 year old from the Work Programme for a minimum of 26 weeks.

Colin Wells, founder of Interior Concepts Ltd, said: “Finding work can be particularly challenging for young people so it was great to be able to offer this opportunity by making full use of the Youth Contract’s wage incentive which directly helped our cash-flow whilst training Paul.

“Paul is quickly becoming proficient in all aspects of our work and is fast becoming an asset to the business.”

RBLI is a Kent-based charity which specialises in working with employers to support people of all ages, skill levels and backgrounds back into work as a sub-contractor to G4S through the Government’s Work Programme scheme.

Peggy Seddon, Centre Manager for RBLI in Horsham, is keen to show more businesses the advantages of the Youth Contract, while supporting jobseekers in the community, “There are clear financial incentives for employers thinking about utilising the Youth Contract or hiring an apprentice, coupled with our free employer facilities and support.”

If you are an employer located in or around Horsham and would like to discuss the Youth Contract, please contact RBLI’s Horsham branch on 01403 211919 or email employment.solutions@rbli.co.uk. If you are an 18 to 24-year-old jobseeker please contact your local Job Centre Plus or see www.dwp.gov.uk/youth-contract

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