Birmingham’s Youth Promise to address unemployment issues

Members of Birmingham City Council’s cabinet are being asked to approve proposals setting out how the city’s Youth Promise will be delivered.

The Youth Promise, first launched at the Skills Show in Birmingham in November 2014, promises that all young people aged 14 to 25 in the city will have access to employment, education, training, apprenticeship of work experience within four months of leaving school, college or employment.

If approved, the Youth Promise will be delivered through a range of initiatives, including:

  • A new Birmingham careers service for 16 to 19-year-olds, which replaces Connexions (with those over 19 to be assisted by the Department for Work and Pensions and Destination Work);
  • An improved monitoring and tracking system to enable the authority to effectively monitor the number of young people classed as NEET (not in education, employment or training) and reduce the number whose current status is not known;
  • Targeted and specialist mentoring to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable young people are met, including young offenders and those in care;
  • A digital access point through which young people can access the services available to them, ranging from digital CVs to online careers guidance;
  • A Targeted Employment Fund to ensure help is available to those who need it the most, including young people living in areas with high unemployment;
  • Developing a universal transport offer for young people in Birmingham to ensure transport is no barrier to accessing education and employment opportunities.

The Youth Promise will be funded with £1 million from the Youth Strategy Contingency Fund from 2014/15 to 2016/17, with any funds underused in a given year being carried over to the next.

Councillor Penny Holbrook, cabinet member for skills, learning and culture, who also chaired a working group which developed the Youth Promise, said: “Birmingham has one of the youngest populations of any city in Europe, with 53 per cent of the population under the age of 35 and 39 per cent under 25. While youth unemployment has fallen over the last two years, it does still remain a challenge, with 10 per cent of our young people unemployed – twice the national average of 5.8 per cent.

“Birmingham’s Youth Promise presents a number of initiatives to provide young people with the support they require to move into employment, develop their skills and strengths and access a range of opportunities.”

Councillor Brigid Jones, cabinet member for children and family services, said: “As a local authority, we will give targeted and specialist support to young people who face the most difficult challenges in life, while ensuring that individual schools, colleges and providers fulfil their duty to provide good quality, independent and impartial careers, information and guidance as well as pastoral support to young people throughout their educational journey.”

Cabinet will consider the report at a meeting on 19 January.

-ENDS-

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