More than 1,400 young people between the ages of 16 and 29 in Wolverhampton, in the West Midlands, have been helped into education, employment, apprenticeships or training by Black Country Impact.
The project, run in conjunction with the Department for Work and Pensions and European Social Fund, aims to support young adults not in education, employment, or training (NEETs) break down the barriers that may be holding them back from finding work, improving skills or gaining qualifications.
It has now been running for almost three years and a celebratory event at Molineux Stadium last week was attended by Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Claire Darke, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Councillor Mike Hardacre, Director of Education, Meredith Teasdale, young people and their families, training providers and City of Wolverhampton Council’s Impact team.
Tariq Taylor, Customer Service Officer at City of Wolverhampton Council, Gloria Campbell who is completing an assessor award with TOPPS training, and Chloe Evans, web designer apprentice at Learn Play Foundation, all spoke about how Impact had supported them to get a job or apprenticeship.
Councillor Hardacre said: “I am extremely proud of everyone who is involved in this project. Hearing from and meeting young people from different backgrounds who have changed their lives through working hard and not giving up has been incredibly inspiring.
“The Impact programme has already changed the lives of over 1,400 young people and I’m looking forward to seeing that number increase. This is great news for the city and very important in contributing to our city priorities for reducing youth unemployment and ensuring our young people aspire, achieve and have the best opportunities.”
City of Wolverhampton Council employs seven Impact key workers to provide one-to-one support to young people to move into employment and training across the city. There is also a dedicated progression officer working alongside businesses and training providers.
In Wolverhampton, the Impact team works with partners including Connexions, Wolverhampton Homes, housing providers, Youth Offending Team, Strengthening Families Hubs, Job Centres, Children and Young People’s Services and Wolves at Work, Voluntary Community Sector providers such as YMCA, and Wolves’ health project, to offer a depth of support that cannot be achieved through traditional routes.
The project also receives funding from the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) and match funding from the National Lottery Community Fund.