By Martin Walker
Phil Wilson has praised a “hugely innovative” scheme which will give Newton Aycliffe companies £2,500 each to create new Apprenticeship roles.
A pot of £50,000 has been created to fund 20 new roles for companies in the Aycliffe area.
Great Aycliffe and Middridge Partnership (GAMP) and Durham County Council’s Employability Team have joined forces to offer local businesses the chance to create the engineering and manufacturing posts for young people living in the Great Aycliffe and Middridge area.
The scheme is being funded by £10,000 from GAMP as well as a further £10,000 from the Neighbourhood Budget of the late Councillor Enid Paylor, with £30,000 coming from the National Apprenticeship Service.
Mr Wilson, the Labour MP for Sedgefield, said: “This is a fantastic initiative and I applaud GAMP and the council’s Employability Team for taking a hugely innovative approach to tackling youth unemployment.
“Opportunities for young people are ever decreasing and we need ideas like this to encourage local firms to give young local people a shot at getting their foot on the ladder, and ultimately help to stimulate local business.
“It’s also nice to see money from the late Councillor Enid Paylor’s Neighbourhood Budget being put to a scheme like this, with a proviso that the new Apprentices are recruited from the Aycliffe and Middridge area only, which is an exceptional tribute to her and one I know her family will be proud of.”
The aim of the project is to tackle the high levels of youth unemployment in the area by encouraging and supporting businesses to create employment opportunities that would not otherwise have existed.
The introduction of the National Apprenticeship Service Initiative, an apprenticeship grant for employees aged between 16 and 24, has given the council the opportunity to compliment available funding to develop a new programme to help small and medium size businesses.
Adam White, GAMP coordinator, said: “One of GAMP’s key priorities is employment, enterprise, education and training.
“This initiative brings together local employers, the Area Action Partnership and colleagues within the council’s Employability Team with an aim of boosting, not only the job prospects of young people, but the businesses themselves.”
The programme will create opportunities that will last a minimum of 15 months with the £2,500 incentive being paid at the end of month 15.
Companies interested in finding out more can contact Durham Council’s Employability Team on 03000 262009.