Birmingham employers urged to help tackle youth violence

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Employers in Birmingham are urged to do their bit to tackle youth violence by signing up to a summer jobs scheme.

National youth work charity UK Youth is looking for companies to offer work experience placements as part of its new Summer Jobs Programme.

Based on the successful One Summer Chicago scheme, which has been running in Chicago, USA, for a decade, the scheme is aimed at young people aged 16-25 who are at risk of violence.

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The programme is run during the summer holidays and includes a preparation week, five weeks of paid work experience – funded by the scheme - and wraparound support from a youth worker.

Ndidi Okezie OBE, UK Youth chief executiveNdidi Okezie OBE, UK Youth chief executive
Ndidi Okezie OBE, UK Youth chief executive

Ndidi Okezie OBE, UK Youth chief executive, said: “This scheme has been a huge success in Chicago, helping thousands of young people at risk of falling prey to harm build confidence and learn valuable employability skills.

“With the help of local businesses, this is something we believe we can replicate in Birmingham.

“We are looking for employers prepared to welcome, work with, mentor and supervise a young person at risk of falling prey to harm, in a safe and supported way.

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“This is an opportunity for organisations to play their part in addressing the needs of local young people and to be a proactive part of the solution. We know that many also see it as their responsibility to contribute to the well-being and development of the youth in their community.

“Businesses are urged to come forward, host a placement and become a trailblazing employer in the first youth employment programme of its kind in the UK! Together we can make a significant impact on the life young people in your local area.”

UK Youth is currently working with 14 delivery partners, with the aim of supporting 600 young people by providing work experience directly with employers in their local area.

There is free, expert, external support throughout the placement. Employers will work with the young person's dedicated youth worker to ensure a successful placement for both the young person and the employer.

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Recognising there may be barriers to young people being able to take up this opportunity, the programme will provide an access fund and pre-placement preparation. Young people will be paid weekly in line with national minimum wage.

As well as the West Midlands, the programme is running in Greater Manchester and specific areas of London. For further information and to sign up, see inclusiveboards.co.uk/summerjobs

The Summer Jobs Programme is part of a large research project to learn better ways to support young people at risk of violence The project is funded by the Youth Endowment Fund, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Youth Futures Fund.

If the first year is successful, it is hoped the programme could be expanded in years two and three.