Young people in Birmingham are set to benefit from a new package of support to give them access to training and career opportunities. A new Youth Hub based at the Library of Birmingham is offering practical advice and support to young people aged 16-29 who are unemployed or at risk of losing their job, or leaving school, college or university.
The Hub was officially opened at an event hosted by Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street. This is one of eight Youth Hubs being set up in the region as part of the Youth Offer that the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has developed with Jobcentre Plus, local authorities, the voluntary sector and local employers.
The Mayor, who is also chair of the WMCA, said “Sadly we know that young people have been hardest hit as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with many of the sectors they work in having been severely affected.
“So, we must do everything we can to help our young people get back into work as quickly as possible if they have lost their jobs, as well as helping those who are looking to take their first step into employment. Youth Hubs are a great example of how we are working with our partners to do exactly that.
“The Birmingham Youth Hub – the latest in our roll out across the West Midlands - will make a huge difference to the lives of local young people, including through mentoring, talent matching, work experience and targeted help to make sure every young person has the skills needed to get a job.” During the event, the Mayor met with several young people who have been supported by the service, including Daniel O’Brian, a recent success story of the new Birmingham Youth Hub.
He said: “I was stressed out and felt like I was constantly coming up against a brick wall after two years of searching for a new job. But after just three sessions at the Youth Hub, I've got a obtained a KS role and a better understanding about what I'd like to aim for in the future – I honestly can never thank the staff at the Youth Hub enough for that.”
Councillor Jayne Francis, cabinet member for education, skills and culture at Birmingham City Council, said: "The city council recently published a report called Breaking Down the Barriers, looking at how we must all deal with the challenges facing young people; they face economic hardship, mental health challenges and growing fears for the future, and many feel they don’t have the skills and knowledge needed to kickstart their careers.
"By working together, we can help to remove the barriers that are limiting our young people’s ambitions and prevent a left-behind generation from being created. This Youth Hub is an example of the type of support we are providing to help young people access training and opportunities for careers development."
The Hub brings together partners to join up local employment and training services, so that young people can gain the support they need in one place to access jobs and skills opportunities. It is a crucial part of the WMCA’s plan to drive the region’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic by equipping young people with the skills they need to land jobs in growth sectors.
Last summer WMCA and the Department for Work and Pensions worked closely with youth charities Impetus and Resurgo to help design the Youth Hub service. The process was an opportunity to shape the offer to ensure it meets local issues and challenges and delivers a service that is truly beneficial to those it’s meant to reach.