A campaign to get Sheffield’s jobless teenagers on to the career ladder has been extended following a string of successes.
Sheffield Council launched its first bid in 2011 to get 100 young people aged 16 to 18 – who are not in education, employment or training in the city – into apprenticeships.
And last year it launched the Apprentice Challenge with The Star, encouraging businesses to take on young trainees, after securing funding for a further 100 jobs.
Now the local authority has allocated cash to get a third batch of the young people - known as NEETs - on to the career ladder.
The £500,000 pays for pre-employment training and allows the council to part-subsidise the wage of an apprentice for one year.
So far it has helped Sheffield to storm ahead of other major cities in England, with 6 per cent of 16 and 17-year-olds now taking up apprenticeships – nearly double the national average of 3.2 per cent.
The latest pair of young people to be taken on as part of the scheme are Rebekah Haylett, aged 19, of Waterthorpe and 17-year-old Daisy Norman, from Pitsmoor.
Both girls landed business administration apprenticeships with the Sheffield Antiques Quarter, based in the Abbeydale Road area of the city.
Hendrika Stephens, chairman of the collective, said: “The girls have been with us for three months now and it’s going great.
“We’re linking them up with all the other businesses so they can gain valuable work experience.
“The council is doing a great job of preparing the young people for employment and matching the right people to the right jobs.
“Taking on an apprentice is a huge commitment, especially when you’re a smaller firm.”
Coun Julie Dore, council leader, said: “This scheme has been extremely successful in giving an opportunity to young people who may not have the formal academic qualifications to get on to the career ladder.
“We are grateful to the businesses we work with on this. They have been really impressed with the way the apprentices have committed themselves to their training and become valuable members of staff in those organisations.”
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