From education to employment

£1.2M to support youth employment in Durham

Youth Futures Foundation has announced a new partnership with Durham County Council to boost youth employment. Set to support over 200 young people over two years, Youth Futures has awarded a £1.2m grant to Durham County Council, and its programme partner DurhamWorks.

This financial boost comes at a vital time as the cost of living crisis takes hold and one in 10 young people in the UK are out of employment (NEET), education or work. According to research by PwC and Youth Futures, UK GDP could benefit by £38billion by lowering levels of young workers classed as NEETs to German levels.

This cash injection will fund the DurhamWorks Futures programme that will support 16-24-year-olds furthest from the labour market. Young people will benefit from support to gain locally relevant skills and links to employers to secure good jobs. The programme will provide one-to-one support to develop motivation, confidence and work-readiness – alongside creating a range of employment opportunities to help young people overcome barriers to move into the world of work.

Youth Futures funding (from dormant assets) will also support the evaluation, undertaken by King’s College London, of this place-based model to tackling youth unemployment. The findings will be shared across the youth sector and with national and local policymakers to help inform and scale up effective practice and policy. This builds on Youth Futures’ recently announced £16m Connected Futures Fund, aimed at reducing the fragmentation of youth employment and skills delivery in seven places in England with high levels of youth unemployment.

The government launched a consultation on the future use of dormant assets in England, the source of Youth Futures’ funding, this month. The expanded scheme could release more than £738m additional funds. Youth Futures hopes to secure further funding to support more marginalised young people into good jobs through place-based initiatives, by working with employers, focusing on prevention and continuing to scale up effective practice by building its evidence base of what works.

Cllr Ted Henderson, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said:

“It is fantastic that this funding has been secured to assist those young people in our county who are currently out of work and in need of support.

“We know how important it is that this type of help is offered so that the younger generation of job seekers can achieve their full potential. Our hope is that this programme provides a significant boost to the employment prospects of those it will work with.” 

Matthew Poole, Director of Grants and Investment at Youth Futures Foundation, said:

“Young people tell us they want joined-up, consistent support that helps them gain control of their lives and get a good job. That’s why we are investing £1.2m in DurhamWorks Futures to test the most effective approaches to helping young people who face multiple challenges to secure employment.

“We will use evidence from DurhamWorks to inform youth employment policy at a national and local level. This demonstrates the vital importance of using dormant assets funding to tackle youth unemployment, through funding and learning from place-based initiatives like this in Durham.”

Jessica says DurhamWorks Futures has:

“Supported with my CV and built my self-esteem and confidence to get out and look for employment, as I don’t want education anymore. I would like something in care work.”

The project launches just months after ‘Youth Under Lockdown’ was published, a report undertaken by the Universities of Durham and Huddersfield, in partnership with Youth Futures. The report, which presented young peoples’ varied experiences of the Covid-19 lockdown, identified f the future implications of the pandemic and pressures to come for young people, particularly in respect of the labour market.

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