Serco has helped over 420 young people into work in only seven months since the launch of the government's Youth Contract - Wage Incentive initiative, which provides extra support to help 18-24 year olds who are already on the Work Programme.
The Youth Contract, which Serco delivers in the West Midlands and South Yorkshire on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions as part of our Work Programme contract, has three elements: apprenticeships, support for disengaged 16 to 17 year olds and Wage Incentives.
Serco delivers the Work Programme and the Wage Incentive element of the Youth Contract through partnerships with an extensive network of local and national subcontractors. Shaw Trust* is one of Serco's delivery partners working closely with employers to provide employment opportunities for young people. Serco has an excellent relationship with Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) and has worked with Shaw Trust to build on the existing work with this employer. Through this partnership ten young people are now working with SARH learning trades from plastering, plumbing and landscape gardening through to fitting kitchens and laying floors.
Mark Hoban MP, Minister for Employment said: "Youth unemployment is one of the biggest challenges this country faces but we are working tirelessly to tackle this problem. What we're offering through the Youth Contract is real practical support to both employers and job seekers, which we hope will give young people a head start in the labour market. With extra work experience places, more apprenticeships and wage incentives, we're giving young people the skills they need to find work and cutting costs for business to employ them."
Grace Kennedy, Serco's Contract Director for the programme, is pleased with the impact of the Wage Incentive element of the Youth Contract so far: "It is an excellent incentive to employers of all sizes to take on 18-24 year olds, giving them the opportunity to gain valuable experience for their future careers. I am delighted with the success Serco and our network have had supporting young people into work via the Wage Incentive and look forward to building on this and helping find new job opportunities for many more in the near future."Read more
Karen Armitage, Chief Executive of SARH, said: "This programme is all about giving young people the opportunity to get a foot on the employment ladder while gaining valuable experience in different areas of the business - we are passionate about making a difference to people's lives and providing sustainable employment and training opportunities for the local community."
Kevin Rust, employer accounts manager, Shaw Trust, added: "It has been a fantastic to work with SARH and we hope this is the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.
"The 10 trainees are 18-24 year olds, which we all know is an age group really struggling to find work. They have been up against a lot of competition, so we are really pleased to finally get them on the jobs ladder - there is no greater feeling than telling someone 'well done, you've got the job.'"
Dominic, one of SARH's new employees, said: "The customer service at Shaw Trust was excellent and I would recommend them to anyone. With their help everything went swimmingly and hopefully the future holds a long term job with SARH".
More details on the Youth Contract and how employers can take advantage of Wage Incentives available on http://www.dwp.gov.uk/youth-contract/key-initiatives/. Alternatively contact Serco on telephone number: 0121 503 2074.
*The Shaw Trust is a national charity specialising in employment services for disabled and disadvantaged people.
* 238 young people are participating in the Youth Contract run by Serco in South Yorkshire (Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster) and 186 young people are participating in the West Midlands (Coventry, Warwickshire, Staffordshire and the Marches).