Published Tuesday, 14 September 2021
Young people from Coventry are benefiting from a package of support to give them access to training and career opportunities, thanks to a youth hub.
The hub at The Coventry Job Shop is marking one year since its opening and offers practical advice and support to young people aged 16-29 who are unemployed or at risk of losing their job, or leaving school, college or university.
Services available to young people include advice from Coventry Job Shop and Jobcentre Plus Work/Job coaches, links with local employers, access to valuable six-month work placements through the Government’s Kickstart scheme, and other opportunities such as apprenticeships and full-time study.
Cllr George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council and the WMCA portfolio holder for productivity and skills highlighted the benefits of the hub with Claire Hindson, Jobcentre Plus Mercia District Manager,Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Coventry City Council Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration and Cllr Kindy Sandhu, Coventry City Council Cabinet Member for Education and Skills.
The Coventry Youth Hub was the first to be set up in the region, in July 2020 and despite Covid related challenges has already supported 390 young people with over 100 supported into work. It is now one of eight Youth Hubs set up in the region as part of the Youth Offer that the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has developed with Jobcentre Plus, local authorities, the voluntary sector and local employers.
The hub brings together partners to join up local employment and training services, so that young people can gain the support they need in one place to access jobs and skills opportunities.
It has been set up by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Coventry City Council working in partnership with the WMCA.
Cllr Duggins said: “The Hub has been helping some of the city’s most vulnerable young residents throughout the many troubles of the pandemic and it’s important to recognise the work that Coventry City Council has been doing with key partners and the impact this has had for our young people, showing just what we can achieve when we all work together.
“The project takes employment support services out to young people providing a more integrated approach and is part of the successful Coventry Job Shop which has been supporting unemployed people in Coventry for several years.
“The enhanced offer ensures that young people benefit from services including advice from work coaches, links with local employers, training opportunities such as apprenticeships, tips on managing money, and support with retraining.
“It has worked so well that we are now looking to identify further sites across our city for additional hubs, focused in the areas where there can be maximum impact.”
During the official opening, Cllr Duggins met with several young people who have been supported by the service.
Harry Barrowman-Mackie, who has benefited from the scheme, said: ”Coming to the Job Shop/Youth Hub has given me direction for a career path, I enrolled on an IT Course with JBC Training, which I really enjoyed, they really liked me and when I completed the course, I secured a role as an IT Technician with the company.”
Cllr Kindy Sandhu, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “I was keen to hear and to meet with staff and young people who have been part of the scheme so far, and I am looking forward to seeing the Hub play a key role in the city’s economic and social recovery following the impact of the pandemic.”
Helene Dearn, Group Director West Midlands – DWP, said: “Local, tailored support is a huge focus for us and by giving access to Work Coach support in easily accessible locations will support young people boosting their confidence and help them tackle barriers to work.
“Similarly, Coventry Youth Hub will have a vital role in making sure young people have the right skills to compete for the jobs that will be on offer. In particular, young people will benefit from advice and support to help them gain placements with local employers through our Kickstart scheme. The hub will offer booked appointments, drop-in facilities and a digital service for all our young people who need to access support.”
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change added: “This project highlights the importance of the crucial role of the jobs market and we want to ensure that young people in Coventry have every opportunity to access job opportunity.
“It’s about recognising the types of jobs that are available and enabling young people to acquire the necessary skills to take up these opportunities.
“I was very impressed with the Youth Hub team and their achievements so far.”
Youth Hubs are part of the following Youth Offer that the WMCA has developed with Jobcentre Plus, local authorities, the voluntary sector and local employers:
- Free careers advice
- Access to vocational training – with a focus on training that leads to jobs
- Hundreds more dedicated Jobcentre Plus work coaches
- Access to funded work placements through the Government’s Kickstart scheme
- Access to apprenticeships
- More support to become self-employed
This is a crucial part of the WMCA’s plan to drive the region’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic by equipping young people with the skills they need to land jobs in growth sectors.
To find out what support is available to help local young people gain access to work and training opportunities, visit the Youth Employment website.