A NEW initiative to help young people find work, at a time when employment is skyrocketing, has been launched.

Future Goals has been launched by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, and will offer online career support for young people at risk of unemployment or at risk of not continuing education or training.

It will help match job seekers to local employers; provide tailored careers support; tips to start a business; links to universities and colleges courses; inspirational videos; apprenticeship support and home learning activities to gain new skills.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said: “The impact of Covid-19 has seen many young people out of education, at a time crucial in their future development, causing them to feel worried and uncertain about their next steps. It is vital for our economic recovery that our future workforce is supported with guidance to develop the skills needed to succeed.”

A statement from the LEP announcing the programme said: "As the pandemic has already hit their career prospects hard, young people can now benefit from extra support as the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s FutureGoals initiative launches online help for those in danger of finding themselves not in education, employment, or training.

£1.45m funding will help Bradford's vulnerable young people overcome barriers to success

"Covid-19 represents the largest and most profound challenge in the employment market in a generation.

"There are now 49,500 people of working age claiming out of work benefits in West Yorkshire, an 87 per cent increase compared with the pre-lockdown period in March 2020.

"Around 380,000 people in West Yorkshire - or 26 per cent of the region’s working age population - have low or no qualifications and are disadvantaged in the labour market. Helping young people build essential skills and keep developing is a serious challenge and key to the economic recovery.

"FutureGoals is rising to that challenge by empowering school leavers to be informed and inspired about their future career or training options."

Mae Presley, a year 10 student from Leeds, said: “Being aged 14 during a global pandemic and having to learn from home hasn’t been easy. At first, I enjoyed having time at home, but I quickly realised that missing so much school could have a huge effect on my future and that felt quite worrying.

“Being able to find advice and resources on FutureGoals has really helped me understand my options. I’m hoping to start an engineering apprenticeship when I leave school next year and through FutureGoals, I’ve realised I can get support through the LEP’s Employment Hub to help me plan my next steps in starting an apprenticeship.”

As part of the support package, a series of free interactive resources are also available.

The FutureGoals Remote resources equip teachers and parents with home-learning activities to help young people develop skills for their future careers. Based on local labour market information, all activities are linked to employer needs and the most in-demand job roles for West Yorkshire.

Parents, carers, educators and young people can find more information at: futuregoals.co.uk/education-and-training