Funding boost to youth employment prospects

Cllr Nick BennettYOUNG people in East Sussex will receive a boost to their career prospects as a result of £200,000 new funding.

Around 3,000 youngsters are expected to benefit from cash secured by East Sussex County Council on behalf of Skills East Sussex (SES), the county’s employment and skills board.

The East Sussex scheme is one of only 33 to be funded by the Government-backed Careers and Enterprise Company and the only employment and skills board nationally to receive funding.

The money will be used to fund Progress – a new project aimed at equipping young people with the skills needed by business and preparing them for the world of work.

The scheme will help increase work experience opportunities, boost the uptake of apprenticeships, increase the take up of science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, and reduce the number of young people not in education or training.

Cllr Nick Bennett, East Sussex County Council lead member for education and inclusion, said: “It’s vital to the economic success of the county that our school leavers have the skills employers need.

“This funding will allow us to create even stronger links between the education and business sectors, to ensure our young people get the best possible opportunities and are fully prepared for the world of work.”

Activities to be offered through the Progress project include work experience for pupils in years 10 and 11, visits to businesses, work readiness programmes and specially-tailored support for young people wishing to access apprenticeships.

Some of the funding will also go towards the STEMfest project, aimed at encouraging students to study science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.

Martin Ellis, chairman of Skills East Sussex, said: “It’s wonderful to secure extra funding for the Progress project, which will help us to steer more young people towards the world of work.

“It will help young people make informed choices about the options available to them and will raise their aspirations.

“It’s especially pleasing that East Sussex, out of so many applications from around the UK, was successful, which reflects on how seriously we are taking the skills agenda generally.”

The Progress scheme, which runs until June next year and will work with all secondary schools and colleges in the county, supports the East Sussex employability and skills strategy, aimed at ensuring the county’s workforce has the skills businesses need.

The project also aims to build on the success of a scheme launched last year which saw the county council employ two enterprise co-ordinators to help create a network of volunteer enterprise advisers to work with schools and colleges .

Claudia Harris, CEO of The Careers and Enterprise Company, said: “We are delighted to award Skills East Sussex with funding to continue its amazing work. There are a huge number of extraordinary organisations working across the country to connect business to schools and colleges, creating encounters that inspire and inform young people about the future.

“We look forward to working with Skills East Sussex and seeing the impact it continues to have on the young people it works with.”