Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has committed to funding the wages of over 100 apprentices to encourage businesses to take on more 16-20-year olds.
The value of the pledge is almost £1m, and will aim to help young people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool into employment to counter balance the decline in apprenticeship creation since the coronavirus outbreak.
100% of the wages will be provided by the Mayor in the first six months of employment, and 50% for the rest of the apprenticeship, for a maximum of two years.
This support is specifically designed to target young people who are not currently in education, employment or training, whilst boosting youth employment in the region.
Mayor Houchen said:
“The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for businesses and local workers. As part of my plan for jobs, we need to make sure that our young people who are part way through an apprenticeship can continue with the qualifications, which will help them for the rest of their lives.
“Unfortunately, many businesses are now reluctant to commit to offering apprenticeships to young people because of the uncertainty they are currently experiencing and as part of my plan to create local jobs for local people, I’m going to change this.
“By offering almost £1 million and funding the salaries of more than 100 apprenticeships, we can make sure that our talented young people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are getting the good high skilled, good quality jobs they deserve and are starting off on the road to a successful career.
“The financial support the government has offered to businesses throughout this pandemic has been unprecedented, whether it through the Job Retention Scheme or the support for the self-employed, and it is only right we do our bit locally and offer financial help to the businesses that need it where I can.
“I have allocated £19 million to raise skills levels, produce the skilled workforce that businesses need and to support the creation of apprenticeships across the Tees Valley, but this is an immediate commitment to help businesses and local workers at a time when they need it more than ever.
“This has been a difficult time for everybody, but we need to make sure our young people in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are equipped to fill the skills gap which many businesses are crying out for.
“They do not deserve to be disadvantaged because of the coronavirus– they are the workers of the future and we need to do all we can to support them.”
The Mayor is calling on businesses to register their interest in the new funding by visiting the Combined Authority website.
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