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Wigan Council: Investing in our future
Thursday 7th March, 2013

Hundreds of people will be helped into work thanks to a £2m package of measures announced by Wigan Council.

Long-term jobseekers and young people will benefit from a series of schemes designed to find them work. The Leader of the council, Lord Peter Smith, revealed the plans at a meeting last night (Wednesday 6th March). He said money from the council’s reserves will pay for a new apprenticeship scheme, a programme giving young people work within the council and a support team to focus on people aged between 25 and 50 get jobs who struggling to find jobs.

Together the schemes will cost almost £2m but Lord Smith warned the recurring cost of not helping people into work would be even higher. The money to pay for the schemes will come from reserves – the money the council sets aside every year. Despite the council’s challenging financial position, with funding from central government significantly reduced, careful management and planning has meant such one-off investments are still possible for priority projects.

Lord Peter Smith said: “At a time when local government funds are being stretched to their limit, we will do our best to make sure everyone from this borough who wants to earn a living has a fighting chance to flourish.”

The council will recruit at least 20 apprentices over the next 12 months. This will build on the success of the current apprenticeship scheme, which was launched in October 2012 and saw 20 young people securing positions within the council. In addition, three graduate level apprentices will be taken on. Together, this will cost around £750,000.

A further £1m will be spent over the next three years giving around 30 people jobs at the council’s new super depot and its catering arm Metrofresh. These jobs will be open to young people who are not in work, education or training.

And around £370,000 will be used over the next year to securing 400 jobs for people aged 25 to 50. Lord Peter Smith said: “High numbers of people aged 25 and over are struggling to get work in our borough and this is becoming an increasing problem.

“We want people to get the support they deserve to get back into work. It’s vital for the economy and for the well-being of individuals in this age group who are often made to feel like a forgotten statistic. It also helps to reduce the number of people reliant on the state for support.”

It’s hoped this new initiative will be launched within the next few months. Further information will be available at www.wigan.gov.uk and at the borough’s life centres. All council job opportunities, including apprenticeships, are published online at www.yourcounciljobs.co.uk

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