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Sandwell Council launches new work experience scheme
5:10pm Saturday 23rd February 2013 in News
Sandwell Council has launched a pioneering work experience scheme to help hundreds of young people gain vital job skills.
The local authority is offering placements of up to three months to 300 young people a year in what is believed to be a national first.
The scheme has a special focus on young people who have left school but have not gone on to further education or training and have not got a job.
A range of council services are taking part, from engineering and transport to social care and museums.
The council will also continue to offer traditional two week work placements.
It unveiled the scheme at a conference at Council House in Oldbury today (22/2).
Young people who have already taken part in a work experience placement told delegates how it had transformed their lives.
Sandwell Academy student Danny Gillard, 15, said he’d enjoyed his time with the council’s architects' department.
He said: “Beforehand I wasn’t sure whether architecture was the right option for me to pursue as a career. Now I’m positive it is.
“The help I got with the council was fantastic.”
The average unemployment rate last year for young people in Sandwell aged 16-24 was10 per cent.
At the conference Sandwell Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for service improvement Councillor Mahboob Hussain and council chief executive Jan Britton signed a pledge committing the authority to providing high quality work experience placements.
Cllr Hussain said: “Young people are the future of this country and it is crucial they gain the right job skills to equip them for the world of work.
“This new scheme will give them valuable experience which will give them a good CV.
“We think we are the first council in the country to take this specially tailored approach over an extended period of time.”
Keynote speakers included Dr Anthony Mann, director of policy and research at the Education and Employers Taskforce, and Irene Kirkman, of the Department for Education, vocational education division.