Business owners in Huddersfield have been urged to help young people on their first step to employment by offering work experience places.
The call has come from Mike Phillips, who chairs the Kirklees Skills Group, and is being backed by Kirklees Council chief executive Adrian Lythgo and Bill Macbeth, managing director of the Textile Centre of Excellence.
Mr Phillips said there were an increasing number of opportunities being created by local companies, but added: “It’s a fact that some young people simply aren’t ready for the workplace and they need a bit of help to prepare for the world of work.
“We need local businesses from all sectors and of all sizes to step up and provide these vital opportunities to help young people to learn what work is all about”.
Mr Macbeth said the textile centre at Red Doles Lane was helping by matching youngsters with employers able to offer work experience.
“We are providing a new offer that will help young people to find and keep a job that interests them,” he said. “We handle the preparation, where we customise support to recognise each learner’s abilities and interests and find them a work experience opportunity which suits them.
“We’re not looking for previous experience or any qualifications, we just want young people with the right attitude who really want a job. To do that, we need businesses to help in what can be a very rewarding experience by providing a few weeks’ work experience. There’s no cost and no catch.”
Mr Lythgo said the council was making a number of work experience placements available immediately, adding: “We are keen to play our part in creating career opportunities for local young people.”
The textile centre runs a traineeship programme for 16 to 24-year-olds, which is funded by the Skills Funding Agency. The programme can run for nine weeks – with two days a week in work placement and two to three days at the textile centre for work preparation training and work on English and maths if required.
Paul Johnson, managing director of Moldgreen-based textile dyeing and finishing firm WT Johnson and Sons, said: “We took part in the very first traineeship programme and we have had two young people on work experience with us for the last few weeks.
“They have both worked out well and I’m pleased to say that we’ve taken them both on and they are starting on our apprenticeship programme this week, which will provide them with a structured training alongside their full time employment.”
Business and young people are invited to contact Lee Harrison on 01484 346500 for more information or to get involved.