Extra £100k to support vulnerable young people into employment

Somerset County Council has committed an additional £100k to fund its innovative Pathway to Employment scheme for 2015/16.

The programme launched in 2013 to help vulnerable young people gain valuable work based training and experience and set them on the path to permanent employment.

Since then, 46 young people have been supported into a variety of roles across the council as apprentices, interns or graduate trainees. These young people may have previously been in care, have a disability or learning difficulties and might have found it difficult to find employment without the scheme.

Thanks to the programme, young people in the county have gained new skills in children’s centres, nurseries, schools, in transport and IT Services, and even the County Hall canteen. Many of the original apprentices have gone on to secure permanent roles within the council.

Last year the council also funded “Project Search” in partnership with Musgrove Park Hospital and Somerset College. This project will help support up to 16 more 17-year-olds with a learning disability into employment for a year.

Cllr Anna Groskop, Cabinet Member for HR, Health and Transformation, at Somerset County Council, said: “The Pathway to Employment Scheme has been a great success since its launch and we really want to continue to build on that success. With the additional budget now approved, we will soon have supported up to 75 young people from a variety of backgrounds.

“Many of our vulnerable young people might find other routes into employment difficult so it is incredibly rewarding to see those we have supported building a career out of their experiences and the training they have received through this scheme.”

If you know a young person who would benefit from the Pathway to Employment scheme please get in touch with Clive Mallon by emailing cmallon@somerset.gov.uk

Somerset County Council (SCC) has a well-established apprenticeship scheme that employs more than 150 young people annually. The Pathway to Employment Scheme runs alongside this, offering opportunities to those that may not normally have been successfully employed or engaged via the traditional route.

The scheme’s budget for 2014/15 was £100k, with £23k used to finance “Project Search”. The additional £100k agreed for 2015/16 will help Somerset County Council to continue developing the scheme.