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Funds will help give youngsters the chance to get into the world of work
Funds have been allocated to help prise commercially-savvy unemployed Bradford youngsters away from the ‘cash-in-hand’ grey economy by helping them start legitimate businesses.
Bradford Council is starting the new project under its Get Bradford Working scheme to help young people aged 16 to 24 who have shown aptitude for setting up their own business.
It will provide up to £90,000 to fund voluntary and community organisations who will use the money to start training for people working with young people to help them develop their business ideas.
The move comes as unemployment in Bradford rose in July – in contrast to the national trend – from 19,259 to 19,369 people claiming benefits.
The local picture worsened as nationally the jobless count fell by a larger-than-expected 29,200, to its lowest level since February 2009.
The UK’s youth unemployment rose by 15,000 in the three months to June to 973,000 16 to 24-year-olds out of work.
The Step up to Business project has been developed in response to research undertaken for the Council by the University of Bradford School of Management and young people’s charity Barnardo’s.
It showed that helping young people develop skills to run their own business could provide long-term benefits for them and the wider community.
Kathryn Loftus, 14-19 Participation Officer at Bradford Council’s Education, Employment & Enterprise Team, said the type of beneficiary could include someone with a talent as a motor mechanic who was repairing vehicles for friends in return for cash in hand.
She said: “We know from the research undertaken that there is an important role to play in helping enterprises operating ‘off the book’ to move into the formal economy.
“This is a partnership initiative between the Council and the voluntary sector. We expect all the organisations involved to work together so that we can offer the best support we can to young people.”
The £90,000 allocation would cover the scheme for the rest of this year and more funding was being considered for next year.
Miss Loftus said the money would enable community bodies to train people working with young people, especially those not in education, employment or training.
Community and voluntary service organisations will attend the unveiling of Step up to Business on Thursday morning where the bidding process for grants will begin.
Organisations have until September 27 to bid for the cash. Application forms can be downloaded from bradfordcvs.org.uk.
Councillor Ralph Berry, the Council’s portfolio holder for children’s services, said: “This is a fantastic project that will help young people who have the enthusiasm and drive to set up their own business but maybe lack some of the knowledge and formal skills to do so.”
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