THE low number of local businesses providing “work inspiration” opportunities to young people is limiting the number of disadvantaged people accessing jobs - a report has claimed.

Work Inspiration links young people with businesses, offering them the chance to see how different industries work and what skills and qualifications they would need to pursue a career in such businesses.

It is seen as a key way of broadening the career horizons of young people, especially those from deprived backgrounds.

But a new report has revealed that just 7 per cent of employers in the Leeds City Region, which includes Bradford, offers such opportunities.

As well as being below the national average, this also makes the Leeds City Region the poorest performer among the country’s “core cities” for offering work inspiration sessions.

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The report says the low levels of involvement in such activities is a “concern” and suggests more work is done to encourage businesses to get more involved in offering such placements. Leeds should aim to more than double businesses taking part in inspiration sessions in the next six years.

The figures are revealed in a report going before West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Employment and Skills Panel next Thursday.

The report into the Authority’s careers policy reveals points out the benefits of supporting young people into work, with each pound invested in the National Careers Service: Careers Yorkshire and the Humber leading to a £9 return in benefits to the Treasury and the wider economy.

It shows that the region is also below average for companies offering work experience - just 36 per cent in the region offering experience placements compared to the national average of 38 per cent. In the Liverpool City Region almost half of businesses, (47 per cent) offer work experience.

The report says: “In view of the importance of engagement with the world of work to the career prospects of young people and adults it is of concern that employers in the City Region have low levels of participation in engagement activities.

“Currently, only 7 per cent of employers in the City Region offer ‘work inspiration’ opportunities and only 36 per cent offer work experience opportunities, which significantly limits the ability of young people, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to benefit from engagement with the workplace. Our aspiration is to increase these proportions to 15 per cent and 50 per cent respectively by 2025 – higher than the best performing region in the country.

“To make a bigger difference change is needed. We need to ensure that young people together with those wishing to develop or change career direction, have meaningful encounters with employers that raise their aspiration and awareness of the opportunities available in the region. We need to raise the number of these encounters in the region up to, and ideally beyond, that of the highest performing areas.”

The panel meets at 2pm on Thursday May 30 in Wellington House, Wellington Street, Leeds.