Council tackles youth unemployment with parks work placements

Fourteen young unemployed people from Reigate & Banstead have been given six month work placements by the borough's parks and waste services.

The partnership between Reigate & Banstead, Surrey County Council and Job Centre Plus is designed to offer the recruits the chance to gain some real skills and work experience. 

Twelve will be working with the parks team to support litter crews and two will be placed with the commercial waste service and helping out at the local Harlequin Theatre.

The council secured funding for the venture through Surrey Future Jobs Fund.

Each of the candidates is between 18 and 24 years old, not in education or training and has been unemployed and claiming Job Seekers Allowance for six months or more.

Cllr Roger Newstead, Executive Member for Personnel and Organisational Change said: "This is a great example of partnership working. Many of these young people have struggled to find employment for a considerable time.  By signing up to this scheme they have shown that they are willing and ready to work and they will gain valuable skills and work experience that will really improve their prospects when looking for a permanent job. Not only that, they will also be helping the Council to deliver important local services to the community at no cost to the council taxpayer."

The vacancies were advertised through Job Centre Plus and following a successful recruitment day at the Harlequin Theatre, 14 job seekers signed up.  The new recruits had the opportunity to do a work trial day before starting and they are currently undergoing their induction training.

They each have to work a minimum of 25 hours a week, or more.

A Surrey County Council spokesman said: "Reigate and Banstead have been quick off the mark in taking up and implementing the Surrey Future Jobs Fund initiative, ensuring their local unemployed young people didn’t miss out on this time-limited opportunity. They have also taken on more recruits than any other local authority so far."

The Surrey Future Jobs Fund aims to fund the creation of 350 entry level jobs in the county by March 2011.

The fund will pay basic wages, some overhead costs and for training and support. 

Jobs must make a positive contribution to the community and must be additional to the employer’s current staffing structure.

Over 80 jobs have been created since the scheme’s inception in March, including landscaping and grounds maintenance staff in schools.

Cllr Newstead added: "I’d like to commend our Head of Neighbourhood Services, Nic Martlew, and his team for their enthusiasm in agreeing to take on and support 13 out of the 14 recruits as well as our personnel team for ensuring a successful start to the scheme in Reigate and Banstead."

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