Last week I attended the formal opening of the Y-Wish Youth Hub in Swan Walk. It was good to see the Hub, which has been quietly active in recent months during the lockdown, coming into its own. Whilst our economy is now bouncing back (with the fastest rate of growth in nearly 50 years) this is not universal with aviation and travel inevitably lagging - which are so prominent in our area. Concerns around youth unemployment remain very pressing: those aged 18-24 have been particularly hard hit by unemployment as a result of the pandemic.
Horsham District Council and the DWP have worked together on the Hub to help young people enter the workforce. The Hub will be open Monday to Friday, 9-5, they can help design a CV and identify suitable vacancies which match skills, experience and interests.
At the launch I was pleased to meet two of the early attendees – Jodie and Susie – who explained the support they received to get into employment. One of them is now employed at local firm, Piron Recycling, a leading global purchaser of used telephone systems and IT for redeployment, who are the Hub’s sponsors. Piron is providing opportunities for a number of young people – including through apprenticeships and traineeships. The Hub will have experts coming through to help people apply to different fields, I very much hope this will help provide impetus and support to young people looking for opportunities.
I am also glad that the first entrants on the Kickstarter programme – who began their six-month placements in November - are now coming through, hopefully with greater confidence and a better sense of opportunities available. It was good to hear that local placements have been used as an opportunity to consider what careers would suit candidates best, build skills and work on CVs. I have heard Kickstarters from a local company, Springboard Media, have been able to use the skills they developed during their placement to successfully apply for a number of roles in the sector. The Scheme will continue to run until December 2021, and I hope young people will approach the Hub or Job Centre if these opportunities appeal.
The Job Centre Plus is also continuing to work with those seeking work more broadly. Recently, they ran a sector-based work academy programme providing opportunities to work at Baker and Baker. The Programme provided opportunities to receive upskill training and then be guaranteed an interview at the company.
The last eighteen months has been exceptionally difficult, but increased support is being made available - helping to maximise opportunities at a point when, on the back of Government support through the pandemic, firms are beginning to grow - and hire - again. I look forward to hearing more from the Youth Hub as it continues it work throughout the summer.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Quin at the Y Wish Hub.