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 Coventry Job Shop is marking one year since its opening during which it has offered practical advice and support to hundreds of 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, WMCA portfolio holder for productivity and skills and leader of Coventry City Council highlighted the benefits of the hub with Claire Hindson, Jobcentre Plus Mercia district manager.
It is one of eight Youth Hubs being 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.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midands, added: “Sadly we know that young people are being hardest hit as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with many of the sectors they work in having been severely affected by the lockdown.
“So we must do everything we can to help our young people get back into work as quickly as possible if they have lost their jobs, as well as helping those who are looking to take their first step into employment. Youth Hubs are a great example of how we are working with our partners to do exactly that.”
During the official opening, Cllr Duggins met with several young people who have been supported by the service including Harry Barrowman-Mackie who 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.”
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 with Coventry City Council, 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 opportunities.
“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:
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 https://www.youthemployment.org.uk/employment-help-young-people/youth-friendly-places-in-the-uk/west-midlands/