HUNDREDS of vulnerable young people are expected to benefit from a new employment and skills project delivering mental health support in Bradford and Leeds is set to start this summer.

The employment skills fund, which has been awarded £1.45m of European funding, aims to help young people who are facing barriers associated with mental ill health, and provide them with support from both Leeds and Bradford Councils to access education, training and employment opportunities.

One Bradford Councillor says the scheme will help some of Bradford’s most vulnerable young people overcome barriers to employment.

The project will deliver a new programme for young people with mental health support needs, whether or not they are receiving out-of-work benefits.

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The project is now even more significant, as many more young people are likely to struggle to find work due to ringing unemployment caused by lockdown.

Emphasis, claims Leeds City Council, will be put on mental wellbeing in addition to general employability support – recognising that health, including mental health are vitally important to creating a happy and productive workforce.

The project will run over the next three years and will ensure that those not in employment aged 15 and over can be supported.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for learning, skills and employment, said: “The long term impact of Covid-19 on our most vulnerable residents is yet to be fully known, however, we are working closely with partners and other local authorities, to ensure support is available through programmes such as this for residents to access meaningful jobs and or educational opportunities.

“This project will run for three years from this summer, and will play a very important role in our work to ensure young people are given the meaningful support that they need.

“Our existing provision has also been aligned to ensure our employment and skills delivery is still available on line and or over the phone until we return to face to face delivery.”

Councillor Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s Deputy Leader and executive member for education, employment and skills, said: “Supporting our young people into education, training or employment is a priority for their futures and for the prosperity of the district.

“This project will help some of our most vulnerable young people overcome the barriers to employment in what are very challenging times.

“Working in partnership with neighbouring local authorities on the Yorkshire Enterprise Partnership project will give our young people another pathway to life changing opportunities, complementing the great work that already goes on through Bradford’s status as an Opportunity Area.

“Well done to everyone involved in the bid for funding; the hard work has, and will pay off.”