MOTHERWELL and Wishaw Frank Roy MP has been meeting the first group of young people to sign up for his ‘Our Community’ youth employment initiative.
Frank launched the initiative earlier in this year in association with the Communitas, Suited and Booted in Motherwell and Jobcentre Plus to provide six-week work placements for 18-24 year olds in the Motherwell, Wishaw and Bellshill areas.
At the Community Union building in Motherwell he met with seven young people who started their placements this week having gone through assistance on CV writing, interview techniques and learning their rights from Suited and Booted and Communitas.
Frank said: “This is an initiative which aims to break down barriers for young people who can’t get a job because they don’t have experience and can’t get experience because they don’t have a job.
“I think this is something different and is centred on them, it’s not just about going to the Jobcentre and signing on, and I’m delighted the young people have taken to it so positively.
“This is a leap into the unknown, but it’s important to get feedback from both the young people and the employers, as hopefully this isn’t a one off.”
Talking to Frank the young people seemed thrilled to have someone paying attention to them having been lost in the Jobcentre ‘system’ and David Neary of Suited and Booted says it was important to build their enthusiasm right away.
He said: “It’s quite a fast moving pace to get them energised and motivated as a lot of them haven’t had great support over the last wee while so feel quite disengaged.
“However giving them proper opportunities and training with local employers gives them a better chance of getting into work.”
Among those Frank met is Marie Lennox (19) from Motherwell who started at Rathbone Training this week.
She said: “My Jobcentre adviser knows I want to do youth work which is a difficult thing to get into at the best of times so I was encouraged to join the initiative in order to gain experience and build my CV.
“I qualified in social science from Motherwell College, but I couldn’t get a job so I had no option but to sign on.
“It’s been a really quick process as I only learned about it a week or two ago, I was looking at a Prince’s Trust initiative, but couldn’t do the week’s residential required so was really lucky the opportunity at Rathbone came up in this.
“Youth work is my passion and something I think is really needed in the North Lanarkshire area so hopefully this will allow me to build up experience and either go on to further education or get a job in that sector.”
Frank also visited Western Commercial Mercedes Benz in Bellshill which took on four young people for it’s own in-house training scheme after linking up with ‘Our Community’.
Each of them were presented with a certificate to mark their successful completion of the programme.
Frank said: “These young people have now been in the workplace for six weeks and I hope they have gained experience which will help them when they look for a job.
“I know each of them have them have been given different skills that they will be able to highlight to potential new employers.”