Young people from Walsall are to benefit from a new package of support to give them access to training and career opportunities.
A new youth hub at Skills Training UK on Hatherton Street, is offering 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.
Young people will 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.
Jennie Davies, DWP, Mayor Andy Street, Steve Crawley of Skills Training UK and Cllr Chris Towe joined by young people including Joe Hemingway (centre) for the official opening of Walsall Youth Hub
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, Jennie Davies, Black Country DWP Deputy Service Leader and Councillor Christopher Towe officially cut the ribbon and opened Walsall Youth Hub this afternoon (24 June).
It is one of six 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 get the support they need all in one place to help access jobs and skills opportunities.
It has been set up by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) working in partnership with the WMCA, Skills Training UK, Walsall Council’s Black Country Impact and Walsall College.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “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.
“We therefore 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, and form part of my 100k jobs plan.
“Walsall Youth Hub will make a massive difference to the lives of local young people, including through mentoring, talent matching, work experience and targeted help to make sure every young person has the skills needed to get a job.”
During the official opening the Mayor met with several young people who have been supported by the service, including 19-year-old Muminah Rani.
She said: “I was referred to Skills training UK from the job centre and did a business admin and a customer service course. This not only helped me grow in confidence but I was able to enhance my skills further.
Following some work experience during which she discovered a passion for teaching, Muminah was given the opportunity to work at Skills Training UK as a teaching assistant while gaining qualifications.
“It is my biggest success and my proudest achievement,” she added.
Muminah Rani with Mayor Andy Street at Walsall Youth Hub
Jennie Davies, Black Country DWP deputy service leader, said: “Local, tailored support is a huge focus for us at DWP – putting job centres at the heart of communities, boosting young people’s confidence and helping them to overcome challenges.
“Giving young people skills training is vital in helping them to compete for the jobs that will be on offer, and this is why Walsall Youth Hub is so important. The hub will be both a drop-in and a digital service for all our young people who need to access support.”
Cllr Chris Towe, portfolio holder for education and skills with Walsall Council, added: “It’s really important that our young people are given access to high-quality, independent careers advice and guidance. There are many routes into education, employment or training, and the Youth Hub will complement the excellent advice services we currently have in the council.”
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 through Walsall Youth Hub to help 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/
To find out how the WMCA is helping young people gain access to work and training opportunities, visit https://beta.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/productivity-and-skills