JOBSEEKERS are to be offered cut-price bikes and cycle training in an attempt to help them land work.

The project, one of the first of its kind in the country, kicks off across West Yorkshire today and is also open to apprentices.

It is one of the projects being funded by a £1.5m Department for Transport grant to promote cycling and walking to work across West Yorkshire. The scheme is being run by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, with help from transport charity Sustrans and cycling trainers BikeRight.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, transport chairman for the combined authority, said: “This initiative is going to have a real impact in West Yorkshire, not only for cycling but also for those who’re looking for work.

“Transport is such an important part of any economy and cycling is a cheap and flexible mode, providing you have a bike and can ride it with confidence.

“For someone who doesn’t have access to a car, they would have trouble taking on a job that includes shift work when public transport might not be running, or at a workplace that doesn’t have a bus stop nearby.”

The project will give bicycle training to hundreds of jobseekers and apprentices at beginner, intermediate or advanced level depending on their experience.

They will also be given the opportunity to buy one of around 250 bikes at a subsidised rate -although the level of subsidy has yet to be fixed.

Hundreds more cycle training places will also be made available to other members of the public.

Training will take place at five CityConnect cycle hubs across West Yorkshire, one in each local authority area. Bradford’s training will be held at the hub at University Academy, in Keighley.

The project comes after a successful pilot earlier this year that trained almost 150 people. Of these, a quarter who already had a bike now cycle regularly for transport while the number of participants who now cycle at least once a week has risen by 65 per cent.

Rosslyn Colderley, a director at Sustrans, said: “We’re really excited to help more people get on their bikes and use the growing number of quality cycle routes in West Yorkshire.

“Getting the confidence to ride a bicycle for your everyday travel can be life-changing. Bikes are cheap to run, they’re often quicker than a car in urban areas and they make people feel healthier and happier.”

Liz Clarke, managing director of BikeRight, added: “Working with Sustrans and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, BikeRight! will focus on the delivery of cycle training, bicycle maintenance courses and provision of bikes and journey assistance. We’ll be looking to set up an office and workshop, employing local people to provide this valuable service to West Yorkshire communities.”

To find out about the scheme, visit