middlesbrough-moving-forwardA MAJOR multi-million pound project to help 2,000 people in Middlesbrough into work, further training or apprenticeships has been unveiled.

The Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) is a two-and-a-half year project that aims to engage people aged between 15-29 who are not in education, training or employment.

Its aim is to make a change at “grass roots” level and to focus on the skills of work ethics, communications and living skills in order to improve future projects.

The project was launched in 2013 by the European Commission to tackle high levels of youth unemployment across Member States.

The EC is investing over £22m in the Tees Valley region and asking for a 25% match funding commitment.

In Middlesbrough the financial allocation from Europe is £4.5m, requiring a match contribution of £1.2m from the joint town partnership either in cash or “in kind” staff time.

Middlesbrough Council will put £362k towards the project which will be met from the Stronger Families and Community Learning Budgets.

Cllr Jan Brunton, Executive Member for Education and Skills, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to unlock a major amount of funding from the European Commission that can and will create great opportunities for young people in Middlesbrough.

“We already do great work in this town to help young people not in employment, education or training, such as Middlesbrough Community Learning which is described as outstanding by Ofsted, which also praised the service for changing lives.

“Additionally, in recent years we have seen developments such as the £20m STEM Training Centre at Middlesbrough College which is a world class education and training facility for a huge range of industries.

“The Youth Employment Initiative will be a brilliant complement to all that is already going on and I am pleased we are able to support it.”

Cllr Brunton will be asked to formally approve the project at a Town Hall meeting on Friday, March 18.