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Council supports journeys to employment for young people and job-seekers

Winchester City Council is helping job-seekers and young people on their journey to employment by widening the criteria for its Apprentice and Access to Work Grants.

Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy and Estates, Cllr Steve Miller, said: “We have listened to the views of young people, job-seekers and local employers in amending the criteria for our grants. We hope that the changes, together with our package of support including the successful employment mentoring programme, will continue to help with getting people into training and work.”

The Council’s apprentice scheme allocates grants of up to £1,000 to apprentices to cover some basic costs which might otherwise be difficult to finance. These range from tools of the trade to the cost of travel to the work place or training venue each week.

The scheme has been extended so that apprentices working within the Winchester District can benefit from the scheme, no matter where they live. This will help local firms recruit more apprentices and those apprentices would in turn be making a contribution to the local economy. Only those that are earning less than the National Living Wage would be eligible.

Mitch Allen, who is an apprentice with Integr8 Dance based in Winnall in Winchester, said: “The grant from Winchester City Council has enabled me to purchase equipment to mix music for dance classes, produce flyers, edit videos and complete course work for my NVQ Level 3 in Physical Education.”

The Council’s Access to Work Grants for Jobseekers are designed to remove some of the most common barriers which might prevent the job-seeker from taking on their role. The grant can only be used for items that are not usually provided by an employer.

The criteria have been amended so that it can be used to fund basic qualifications, licences or transportation that could be an obstacle to accepting a post when offered. An example of this is membership of the Wheels to Work scheme which would enable someone to travel to work. This is to prevent job-seekers being trapped in a vicious cycle of not being able to fund these items, but needing them to be offered a job. The revised criteria include a reduction of the amount of time the person must have been unemployed for, from at least six months to just two months.

A full set of conditions and guidelines for both schemes can be found at www.winchester.gov.uk/business/business-grants/

The Wheels to Work scheme loans out mopeds at low cost helping people to access work and vocational training. Mopeds can be hired from three to 12 months. To find out more visit www.cfnf.org.uk/wheels-to-work/

To find out more about the employment mentoring programme visit: www.winchester.gov.uk/business/employment/employment-mentoring/

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