A £15 million project aimed at bringing jobs to North Lanarkshire’s young people is ahead of target.
The progress of North Lanarkshire Council’s Youth Investment Programme was discussed at a youth employment conference held in Motherwell last week.
The conference, hosted by North Lanarkshire’s Working, was attended by more than 200 business people, entrepreneurs, representatives from North Lanarkshire Council and partner groups at the Motherwell Concert Hall.
The conference, chaired by the council’s executive director for environmental services Paul Jukes, who has responsibility for tackling youth employment, is being held to mark the first anniversary of North Lanarkshire Council’s ground-breaking Youth Investment Programme.
A total of £15million has been pledged over three years towards creating new opportunities in training and work for young people aged 16 to 24.
David Fagan, who is convener of regeneration and infrastructure at North Lanarkshire Council, spoke of the programme’s success.
He said: “In the year since the Youth Investment Programme was launched nearly 1800 people have been supported into a work against target of just over 1600.
“Times are tough and we know that the number of people working for the council will continue to drop, but we don’t accept that as a reason to say that we can’t do more in terms of youth.”
He added: “Today you will find 200 modern apprentices working within the council and another 200 paid work experience opportunities for young people who have been out of work in the long term
“We recognise that we need to support all of your young people. That is why we have recently created 50 graduate internships for talented North Lanarkshire graduates who are finding it difficult in a tough jobs market.”
Councillor Fagan said the work with employers in this area will also continue,
He said: “It’s not just about creating jobs.
“It’s about creating the economic conditions for business and enterprise to thrive in North Lanarkshire.
“Last year we supported 550 people to start their own business.
“We need to keep raising awareness of self-employment and our education staff work hard to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in our young people.”