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Tees Valley wins £19m boost to reduce youth unemployment

THE prospects for unemployed young people across the Tees Valley are set to be transformed after Hartlepool Council secured £19.29m of European Union funding.

The funding will support approximately 6,500 young people aged 15 to 29 across the Tees Valley to move into education, employment, self-employment or training.

Called the Youth Employment Initiative, the programme will be managed by Hartlepool Council’s Economic Regeneration Team, which has successfully won the funding on behalf of 29 Tees Valley partner organisations from the private, public and voluntary sectors including the four other local authorities.

The programme – which is now under way – will run until 31st July 2018 with delivery in two strands:

*Tees Valley Pathways (£17.6m), which will create innovative solutions to help young people who are struggling to achieve their potential or make positive progress.

It will also help young people by providing them with the skills that employers require as well as offering participants the support of a flexible learning and skills fund.

*Tees Valley Routeways (£1.69m), which will provide young people with individually tailored routes into growth employment sectors such as advanced manufacturing, digital, logistics, low carbon and health and social care through a range of activities such as volunteering, internships, traineeships and apprenticeships.

The Youth Employment Initiative is part-funded by the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England with the Department for Work and Pensions as the managing authority.

Councillor Kevin Cranney, Chair of Hartlepool Council’s Regeneration Services Committee, said: “This is tremendous news for Hartlepool and the whole of the Tees Valley and it is a major achievement to land such a significant sum of money in the current economic climate.

“Everyone involved in this project is passionate about giving our young people the best possible start in their adult lives and this funding will help us to give our youngsters the skills, experience, encouragement and confidence to build successful careers.”

Councillor Ann McCoy, Stockton-on-Tees Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “This is excellent news for Stockton Borough and the wider Tees Valley.

“All of our young people can realise their full potential to succeed with the right support and guidance – this additional funding will make a real difference to help provide training and employment opportunities and give them the best possible chance to achieve their goals.”

Councillor Chris McEwan, Darlington Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, said: “This extra funding will provide a much-needed boost for young people and will, in turn, give them the skills and advice they need to help them find employment.”

Councillor Charlie Rooney, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “Young people are the future, and we owe it to them to do all we can to ensure they have the education, skills and training that will stand them in good stead for later life.

“This funding and the projects it will enable will make a huge difference in unlocking potential and creating the sort of careers that transform lives.”

Councillor Carl Quartermain, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Skills and Leisure at Redcar & Cleveland Council, said: “I am pleased that Hartlepool Council has secured this funding for the Tees Valley. It is a key priority of Redcar & Cleveland Council, and all the Tees Valley authorities, that all young people have access to appropriate opportunities in education, training and employment.”