A programme which helps unemployed people get back into work has expanded thanks to a near £1m boost.
The £7.5m scheme, which has engaged with almost 3,000 people and helped 573 unemployed over-30s get back into jobs and on the path to a successful career, has now been expanded to cover anyone aged 16 and above.
The pilot was due to begin winding down from September 2021, but Tees mayor Ben Houchen has pledged an additional £900,000 worth of funding to keep the scheme fully operational until March 2022.
As well as providing additional resources to offer personal support to a wider eligible group of people looking to get back into work, the funding will ensure existing staff levels are maintained to support the programme.
The Routes to Work Scheme has already surpassed of all its targets and expectations, with its original aim of engaging with 2,500 people and getting 275 back into employment by the end of March next year.
The scheme will also be used to support beneficiaries of the Government’s kickstart programme to ensure a positive outcome at the end of the six-month month job placements.
The £2billion fund is creating high-quality six-month work placements to those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.
To date, 415 roles have been set up at 135 Tees Valley companies, with applications still open.
Mayor Houchen said: “Our Routes to Work scheme has been a huge success and has already smashed all targets and expectations, engaging with almost 3,000 people and getting 573 back into work.
“Routes to Work does a fantastic job of targeting people who need help most, giving hundreds of people the self-belief, skills and training they need to get back into work and have a rewarding career, which is more important than ever before as we continue to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“My absolute priority is to support people and businesses through this difficult time, which is why I’m pleased to be able to expand the scheme to all ages, so we can support even more people and get them into good quality, well paid, local jobs – a key part of my plan for jobs.
“Whether through Routes to Work, the Government’s Kickstart Scheme or my Emergency Apprenticeship Fund, we’re making no one in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool is left behind.”
For more information about the Routes to Work programme, visit teesvalley-ca.gov.uk/routes-to-work.