BRADFORD Council will launch a new Employer’s Forum that will provide “life-changing” opportunities for young people in the district.

The forum will offer advice and support to businesses to enable them to provide work experience and jobs for young people with additional support needs such as autism.

Bradford Council’s SkillsHouse is working in partnership with the Leeds based Lighthouse Futures Trust to set up the forum and the launch event will take place on June 26 in Bradford City Hall with places still available for local employers.

Lighthouse Futures Trust have successfully implemented a similar forum and programme of supported internships for young people with autism or a learning difficulty in Leeds and are looking to roll the programme out nationally.

SkillsHouse Bradford is one of the Council’s services that focuses on recruitment, training and business development. An important element of this is supporting people in getting the skills and confidence they need to become employable.

Sue Webster, Employer Engagement Officer for SkillsHouse, said: “We are delighted to be working with regional charity, Lighthouse Futures Trust, to launch the Bradford Supported Employers Forum. We’ve already seen some brilliant successes in our region with businesses offering internships and work experience for young people. We want to build on this in Bradford by working with businesses which are committed to having an inclusive workforce. We know that creating these opportunities can be life-changing for young people who have additional needs.”

Katie Parlett, CEO of Lighthouse Futures Trust, said: “Our Employer's Forum in Leeds provides a really safe space for employers to come together and share their experiences, ask questions and learn how they can create a more diverse and inclusive working environment. Our members say that this has really helped them develop greater confidence in this area and understand how they can easily remove barriers to employing more young people with support needs.”

Cllr Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for education, employment and skills, said: “Bradford is proud of being a young and diverse city that provides opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. This is a fantastic initiative and we’re pleased to be working with the Lighthouse Futures Trust to launch the Employer’s Forum in our district. It will help us create an inclusive business environment that can support young people who may have additional needs but who also have unique skills they can offer to employers.”

Businesses interested in attending can visit