Youth Hub celebrates a year of supporting young people in the Chichester District

A scheme delivered by Chichester District Council to help young people access employment, education or apprenticeships is celebrating a year of helping to kick start careers.

Aimed at young people in the district who are aged between 18 and 24 and are currently receiving Universal Credit, the Chichester Youth Hub opened its doors in April 2021, using funding from the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Hub was initially created as a response to rising youth unemployment arising from the pandemic. The hub works with local businesses to support young people into finding employment, work experience, apprenticeships, or Kickstart roles. The Kickstart programme is a Government scheme that provides young people with six months paid work placements to gain key skills and experience that will help them to find long-term employment.

Harvey is one of the people who has benefited from the Youth Hub’s support through the Kickstart scheme. He was referred to the Hub in August of 2021.

“The Youth Hub team have really helped me boost my confidence,” says Harvey. “Through our one-to-ones, I’ve had support with interview techniques, CV writing and other skills. The Youth Hub has allowed me to become the best version of myself.”

Mikey was transferred to the Youth Hub in July 2021, having left school with an ambition to work in the construction industry with a focus on woodwork and carpentry. He says: “I struggled to get a job before I was referred to the Youth Hub. Working at Blue Island Furniture, I feel trusted. I’m not just a cog in a machine and I can provide for my family. One day I’d like to start my own business and here I’m able to learn from people who have done just that.”

Through the Youth Hub Kickstarters are given support with CV and interview skills as well as regular one-to-one sessions to improve confidence and tailor the service to each young person.

The district council has also taken onboard several Kickstarters as part of the initiative. Kai has worked with the Youth Hub team since the beginning of the scheme and, now that his placement is coming to an end, he is looking to gain a degree in psychology from Chichester University.

“The Youth Hub has given me the chance to do something I never thought I would want to do, and it’s led me to gain the confidence to go to university,” Kai comments. “As a staff member on the Youth Hub while also being a Kickstarter myself, it has been great to see so many people like me succeed. We’ve been able to make a real difference to young people’s lives and that’s thanks to the hard work of the team and the Kickstarters themselves.”

“We all know how challenging it has been over the past two years, and this has had a significant impact on young people,” says Roy Briscoe, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Culture.

“The Youth Hub has made a huge difference during the pandemic, using Government funding, and we are really proud of what it has achieved. It’s helped to bridge the gap, at a time when restrictions to our daily lives were in place to protect public health.

“I would like to thank the staff for the support they have delivered, and the young people for embracing the opportunities that the Hub has offered. It’s fantastic to hear about the outcomes that have been achieved.”

The Youth Hub has also offered support to local businesses in the Chichester District.

Blue Island Furniture was bought by Laetitia and Jim, alongside friend Neil, drawing upon their engineering and logistical experience to create and sell handmade wooden furniture. The business took on two Kickstarters after relocating to Glenmore Business Park in Chichester.

Laetitia explains: “The Kickstarters have been real lifesavers during our transition from Petersfield to Chichester. They’ve been so productive and supportive with a great attitude.”

Jim adds: “We’re hoping that the guys will want to stay around after their placement ends. We’d like them to take a leading role in the business one day so that we can pass our skills onto the next generation.”

“It’s great to see local businesses like Blue Island Furniture using initiatives such as this to grow and thrive,” says Tony Dignum, Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration. “Local businesses have benefited hugely from the Youth Hub, which has allowed them to access local, talented, young people and train them in specialist skills”.

Emma Wareham, County Partnership Manager for the West Sussex Department for Work and Pensions, says: "The Department for Work and Pensions has been delighted to be working in partnership with Chichester District Council to deliver the Chichester Youth Hub and it has been great to see the good news stories coming from this joint venture.

“Over 120,000 young people across the country have now started jobs through the Government’s landmark Kickstart Scheme. It has helped young people in all corners of the country to develop new skills, build confidence, and get a crucial first foot on the career ladder.”

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