I will create 1000 well paid, skilled jobs for young people.

The pandemic has hit people hard, especially the young with unemployment and poor mental health on the rise. As Mayor, I will do everything I can to help young people who have lost jobs, or been unable to find them, during this difficult time. 

I will ensure that all young people out of work for more than six months have an offer of a job, education or training, by bringing together national programmes, local schemes and local employers to work in communities, helping to open up opportunities across our region.

I will establish a Mayor’s Youth Employment Scheme, including a Kickstart gateway, to help create 1,000 jobs for young people. This will provide a mix of employment opportunities especially in SMEs, social enterprises and co-operatives. 

No costs will be passed to employers, but they will need to sign up to our new Fair Work and Employment Charter that guarantees paying above the Minimum Wage, bans zero hours contracts, and commits to equality in the workplace, fair pay and giving employees a say on how their workplaces are run, actively recruiting and promoting a diverse workforce, reducing carbon emissions, paying suppliers on time, and recognising trade unions.

I will call for West Yorkshire’s share of the £330m national Apprenticeship Levy underspend to be devolved to the Mayor and I will build on the current best practice of our councils to create an Apprenticeship Levy share and match programme.

I will also build on existing schemes to help larger businesses not using their Apprenticeship Levy to support SMEs, co-operatives and social enterprises to take on apprentices.

With the world of work changing at speed, it’s also vital we support young people in making important choices about their careers. Working with councils, I’ll support a gold-standard West Yorkshire wide Careers Advice Service delivered on-line and in person, using mentors and businesses to excite and inform the next generation about the exciting opportunities available to them.

While the Mayor currently doesn’t have responsibility for Health, knowing there are many young people who have found their chosen profession out of reach after a year of shut-down as well as many citizens struggling with poor mental health, I will work with Government, charities, community groups, PCN’s and link workers to pathway young people into Creative Recovery social prescribing. Whether that’s dance for Dementia sufferers or art classes for those struggling with depression, evidence shows social prescribing reduces a patient’s reliance on the NHS services and GP attendance whilst also creating paid work for compassionate young people at the beginning of their careers.

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