New Devon initiatives to boost youth employment

Devon County CouncilDevon County Council

Posted on: 24 January 2012

Devon County Council has unveiled a raft of initiatives aimed at helping to reduce youth unemployment.

The county council is investing £150,000 into the projects and working with a number of partners across Devon.

The schemes range from helping small businesses take on apprentices, creating high quality work placements, acting as a ‘business angel’ to young people with marketable ideas and improving careers guidance and links with employers for students in secondary schools.

Devon’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Enterprise and Employment, Will Mumford, said: “Devon County Council is determined to do all it can to sustain and improve the economy of the county.

“So we are promoting major job-creating projects like Exeter Science Park, the South Devon Link Road and superfast broadband.

“However, youth unemployment is a particular problem in Devon as it is nationally.

“These projects range from the small-scale to the countywide and I believe they will all help our young people to gain experience of employment and help make them more attractive to employers.”

Devon is working with the Devon Education Business Partnership to develop high quality work placements in key sectors of the economy and to help employers select suitable students. The information gathered will be shared with businesses across Devon.

The county council is also linking up with the Devon Education Business Partnership to develop young people’s entrepreneurial skills.

Up until June, students will receive business mentoring for inventions they have come up with as a result of the Big Bang South West competition.

And five individual or group inventors will be eligible for a ‘business angel’ bursary of £250 each.

The county is cooperating with Bicton College on a scheme designed to develop clear incentives for employers to take on an apprentice.

This will include subsidising wages for a work trial, developing appropriate training for the apprentice and the supervisor and enabling apprenticeships to be shared amongst a number of employers.

A separate scheme with Careers SW is aiming to support micro-businesses in North Devon with grants for a range of interventions to enable them to take on an apprentice.

Exeter College is working with the county council and city retailers to help them improve the skills of their workforce and give college students experience in conducting market research into shoppers’ experiences of Exeter stores.

Across the county, staff in careers advice and in Devon’s 37 secondary schools and FE colleges will have their knowledge of the local economy strengthened in a project with Careers SW and the 14-19 partnerships.

This will train staff as well as counsel Year 11 and Year 13 students on job opportunities and apprenticeships for those not going on to further or higher education.

A booklet will be available in hard copy and on-line for all 53,000 13 to 19-year-olds and their families giving targeted information on Devon’s economy and what opportunities there are.

NOTE TO NEWS EDS: For more information and interviews, contact Will Mumford on 07779 149373.

Posted in: Business and Economy