More than £675,000 secured to further reduce youth unemployment

30 June 2014

More than £675,000 will be ploughed into generating more valuable work experience, apprenticeships and job opportunities for young people in Bracknell Forest over the next three years, thanks to the Berkshire City Deal.

Bracknell Forest Council, with other Berkshire authorities, signed up to a landmark £2.4million City Deal last year, which aims to drive economic growth and prosperity. It has recently been confirmed that Bracknell Forest will benefit from £679,000 of funding thanks to the programme, which is jointly funded by the government and the European Structural and Investment Fund (SIF).

City Deals are special arrangements negotiated between Central Government and areas / cities, where they are given the powers and tools they need to drive local economic growth and prosperity.

The Thames Valley Berkshire City Deal centres on giving 4,500 of the area's 16 to 24 year olds the skills they need to access local job opportunities and help local businesses get the workforce they need to support growth.

In Bracknell Forest it will be used to:

  • Reduce youth employment through the engagement of employers who are able to support young people in gaining the skills and experiences necessary to secure employment.
  • Support employers in recruiting apprentices.
  • Creating a central information, advice and guidance hub for anybody aged 16 and over, where they can gain impartial advice on education, training and employment.
  • Provide a two year (fixed-term contract) business relationship coordinator to ensure the project runs smoothly and that providers are delivering even more effective and joined-up solutions for the business community.

Cllr Marc Brunel-Walker, executive member for economic development and regeneration, said: “This funding will provide invaluable work experience opportunities for some of our young people as well as apprenticeships and employment.

“This is obviously welcome news for our young people but also for our local businesses and the borough’s economic health as it will provide a motivated and skilled young workforce. Plus it will help to further reduce youth unemployment, which we’ve already started to tackle and have seen a steady decline in over the past few years.”

Bracknell Forest has seen the number of young people classed as NEET (not in education or employment) dramatically reduce over the past year. There are currently around 100 young people classed as NEET, the lowest figure for more than 10 years.

The council's deputy leader, Cllr Dale Birch, signed up to the City Deal in October 2013, alongside representatives from Berkshire's other local authorities, education and business leaders at a special event at Reading Town Hall.

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