New College partnership to boost opportunities for young people and tackle local jobs gap

Furness College has teamed up with the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership on a new initiative to help more get young people into work after their studies.

The project is aimed at providing extra support to help young people to be ready for work and to meet the needs of local employers.

Barrow has one of the highest rates of 18-24-year-olds who are not working, with figures from November 2022 showing that 6.2% of young people are claiming benefits against a Cumbria-wide average of 3.9% and 4.6% in the UK.

To help address the issue, the Careers and Enterprise Company has awarded the Cumbria LEP funding to appoint a Hub Innovation Project Manager Rachelle Poyntz who will be based at the college’s Channelside campus. Rachelle is now working with both staff and students at Furness College to address this challenge. She’s also building links with employers to make sure that young people have the employability skills such as team working, creativity, problem solving alongside their specific skills and training when entering the world of work.

Rachelle is a former primary school teacher and is looking forward to getting stuck in to deliver results. She said:

“There has been a big dip in the rates of 18-24 year olds who are going into employment in Barrow. That’s something that we really need to address.

“That’s why I will be working with small and medium-sized businesses to identify their needs, and to make sure that they are aware of the large talent pool of young people that they can tap into. We already have lots of ideas about how we can tackle this, including providing mentoring that supports students to find work. We’ll also be improving links across the business community, encouraging more businesses to support our young people back into employment.”

Rachelle is now appealing to small and medium-sized businesses who may be looking to appoint staff in the construction, hair and beauty and motor vehicle sectors to get in touch and discuss opportunities to take on young people.

Jo Lappin, Chief Executive at Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

“I am deeply concerned that there is a higher level of young people, who are unemployed in Barrow than there is in the rest of Cumbria or the UK. The pandemic meant that many young people missed out on the opportunity to have a work placement or visit businesses to find out more about work and the workplace. This project looks to make sure that that doesn’t happen in the future and that all of our young people have the opportunity to know what exciting careers are available to them.

 “We want to ensure that young people are excited about work, have the opportunity to explore all of their options and are ready for work by the time they leave college. I’m really pleased that the LEP is going to be working with Furness College on this important project. Rachelle will make sure that she is both helping local businesses to be prepared to take on new, young employees and supporting the college to prepare our young people for work. We want all of our young people to be ambitious about their future and ready for work when they finish their studies.

“For me, it’s not only about ensuring that we have a prosperous local economy, but also about making sure that our young people have the necessary skills and opportunities to build a great career here, whatever they want to do. More generally, we are looking at how we can support those that are unemployed back into work as there are lots of jobs available – we just need to support young people to get these.”

Business owners with a vacancy or a role coming can contact Rachelle on 07741032936.

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