Intensive support planned for young unemployed in Nine Elms

Published: Tuesday 25th March 14

Unemployed young people in and around the Nine Elms regeneration area will benefit from targeted support to help them into work or training, under plans approved by Wandsworth Council.

A pilot scheme focused on 18 to 24 years olds who have struggled to find lasting work will be established in Queenstown ward, north Battersea.

This part of the borough includes the majority of the Nine Elms regeneration area.

Two dedicated employment advisors will run the service, each working with up to 30 young local people at a time.

Job centre plus advisors typically deal with a caseload of around 100 claimants so the council’s approach allows more time to engage, understand and tackle individual barriers to employment.

Currently there are around 80 young people receiving job seekers allowance in Queenstown and more who are unemployed but not claiming benefits.

If the pilot is successful in lowering unemployment here it could expand to other areas.

Last year Wandsworth Council launched its Work Match recruitment service which helps local unemployed people secure work or training opportunities. The pilot scheme in Queenstown would go a step further by providing intensive support to help more young people to access these roles.

Cllr Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said:

“Queenstown is home to the Nine Elms regeneration programme which is starting to generate a steady supply of jobs, apprenticeships and training roles.

"But some local young people lack the confidence or basic skills to secure these opportunities. They have the potential to succeed but there are real barriers preventing them from doing so.

“Through this new initiative we will provide intensive support to the young people of Queenstown.  Focussing our efforts on such a defined segment of our community means we can work with them on an individual basis and address the specific issues which prevent them from getting a foothold in the jobs market.

“Some of these issues will take time to address. They may have a difficult home environment, poor language skills or low self esteem. Working closely with our partners we will attempt to solve these problems and clear the way to sustainable employment.

“Six months ago the council established the Work Match jobs brokerage team which is now linking out-of-work local people to new jobs in Nine Elms and elsewhere in the borough. This new pilot scheme could offer another route into work for the young people who need our help most.”

The Queenstown scheme has been designed in close consultation with Job Centre Plus (JCP) and local charities FAST and STORM which work with young people in the Queenstown area.

The project will require close partnership working between these organisations to provide joined-up packages of support based on individual needs.

The pilot scheme is expect to cost the council £200,000 over two years.

Last year Cllr Govindia hosted a Jobs Summit at the town hall where major local employers pledged to support he council’s efforts in tackling unemployment including the Berkeley Group, Young’s Brewery, Mace, Battersea Power Station, Carillion, the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce, Lend Lease, University of Roehampton, St George's Hospital, South Thames College, Southside Shopping Centre and Waitrose.  

The council has also set up a Jobs and Skills Board to work with local education providers, other public bodies like Job Centre Plus and London’s new Local Enterprise Panel. The partners will work together to maximise opportunities and support for Wandsworth residents, particularly those aged 18 to 24.

The latest figures released by the National Office of Statistics show the number of people in Wandsworth claiming job seekers allowance fell by more than 20 per cent between December 2012 and December 2013.  

Wandsworth now has the second lowest unemployment rate for an inner London borough at 2.2 per cent.

The Queenstown Employment Support Pilot was approved by the council’s executive group on March 3. A report is available on the website.

To find out about how Work Match can help you into employment or training call 0208 871 5191 or email wandsworthworkmatch@wandsworth.gov.uk.  

Find out about a range of employment support service on the council’s website at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/jobzone

ENDS

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